Set in 1950s London and based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s film Ikiru, Living is about civil servant Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) who finds out that he doesn’t have long left to live. Instead of carrying on with the mundane routine, he decides to take a time out to really experience all that life has to offer before his time runs out.
One might think that such a grim sounding story would put a person off, but that wasn’t the case here. I think I can credit Nighy’s impeccable performance as to why. Not only did he have my heart breaking for him, especially when he received his diagnosis and then felt he had nobody he could share the news with, he also had my heart swell in contrast because all he wanted to do before he passed was something positive for those who would be left behind.
The movie did start off slowly, however, the pacing improved as the plot moved forward. As Mr. Williams developed a friendship with his former employee Margaret Harris (Aimee Lou Wood), I felt like the scenes just kept speeding by. Although their closeness seemed strange at first, I have to say that it grew on me. Wood, in her first big role outside of Sex Education, delivered a wonderful performance. Full of optimism and quirkiness that was certainly needed amongst the otherwise somber atmosphere, she was a joy to watch.
Living took me by surprise. What started as me being interested in it for its cast changed as I felt so many different things while leaving the cinema. It is often said that we should live each day to the fullest and as if it is our last. While this may be easier said than done, it is still an important lesson that was beautifully portrayed throughout the movie. Overall a beautiful and poignant experience that I am so happy I got to witness.