A review of the new film “Living”

Bill Nighy gives the best performance of his distinguished career as Mr Williams, an old-fashioned, straight-laced, middle-ranking official at the London County Council in the 1950s. When he receives life-changing news, he has to decide whether he can start living at last and whether he can leave any kind of meaningful legacy. The film centres on a man of similar age to me and is set in parts of London where I am living – in both sense of the word – just walking distance away and therefore the work certainly resonates with me, but it will have appeal to anyone who yearns for something different from the endless superhero movies.

Although in many ways this is an quintessentially British film, it is directed by South African Oliver Hermanus, the story is based on a Japanese film (Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 “Ikiru”), and the script is written by Kazuo Ishiguro who, in his novel “The Remains Of The Day”, showed the emotionally-repressed nature of a segment of English society – the main theme of production. Some will regard “Living” as slow, simple and sentimental and, in truth, it is at one level all of these, but it is also charming, poignant and life-affirming.


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