Watch Living

"It's never too late to start."
  • PG-13
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 42 min
  • 7.2  (31,689)
  • 81

Living is an evocative and poignant 2022 drama film directed by Oliver Hermanus, which serves as a retelling of Akira Kurosawa's 1952 classic "Ikiru." The screenplay is written by esteemed author Kazuo Ishiguro, who adapted the story to 1950s London, thus providing a fresh and culturally nuanced perspective while retaining the universal themes of the original. The film stars the incredibly talented Bill Nighy in a career-defining role, with supporting performances from Aimee Lou Wood and Alex Sharp, among others.

Bill Nighy plays Mr. Williams, a dedicated but unassuming bureaucrat who has spent most of his life working at the county's Public Works Department. It's in the monotony of his day-to-day existence that the story finds Mr. Williams immersed in a predictable routine, focused on the meticulous shuffling of paperwork and the relentless ticking of the clock. The civil servant's life within the dim and ordered office is a testament to his steadfast commitment to his role, although he's rarely recognized for his efforts by his colleagues or those he serves. Williams is the embodiment of the "grey man" —an individual who has allowed the vibrance of life to pass him by as he quietly upholds the grey hues of his profession.

Aimee Lou Wood portrays Miss Harris, a young and vivacious co-worker who brings a spark of life and much-needed warmth to the otherwise drab environment. Her character provides not only a contrast to the somnolence that permeates the office but also inadvertently acts as a catalyst for the changes that unfold within Mr. Williams. Alex Sharp's character, Peter Wakeling, is another significant presence in the office. He is a keen and resourceful young man who, like Miss Harris, plays a crucial part in Mr. Williams' dawning realization about life's ephemeral nature and the urgent need to seek out meaning and vitality.

The narrative follows Mr. Williams through what begins as a psychological journey of introspection and revelation, spurred by a life-altering diagnosis that forces him to reevaluate his existence. Confronted with the cruel brevity of time, he is impelled to question the purpose and legacy he will leave behind. Living thus becomes a story about a man's quiet desperation, tipping into an existential crisis, seeking to find relevance and substance in the face of impending mortality.

Director Oliver Hermanus meticulously crafts the film with a gentle touch, allowing for an ambiance steeped in post-war British austerity. The muted palette and precise production design evoke the atmosphere of the era and reflect the internal state of the protagonist. Ishiguro's screenplay layers the character's emotional evolution with subtle dialogue and meditative silences, underlining the inner transformation without overwhelming sentimentality.

As Mr. Williams attempts to break free from the confines of his habits and bureaucratic inertia, Living provides an introspective look at the possibility of redemption and awakening, even amid a life that may seem overwhelmingly static and purposeless. His pursuit of a meaningful legacy challenges not only his own perceptions but also the stifling norms of the society in which he operates. The surrounding characters react in various ways to Mr. William's subtle rebellion against the status quo, offering a spectrum of human responses to the notion of life's impermanence.

Living is a compelling exploration of the human condition that resonates with quiet strength, fostering a deep sense of compassion for its characters. Bill Nighy delivers a masterful performance, capturing the nuances of a man in the twilight of his life who is suddenly thirsty for more than just existence. He brings a dignified yet heartbreaking quality to Mr. Williams, ensuring that the character's journey feels both specific and universally relatable.

Thematically rich and beautifully shot, the film delves into the notions of courage, connection, and the profound impact one individual can have when they choose to actively engage with life. It's a homage to all that makes living worth the pursuit—the joy found in human connection, the satisfaction derived from meaningful work, and ultimately, the importance of leaving a trace of oneself for the world to remember.

Living succeeds not only as a character study but also as a narrative that prompts viewers to reflect upon their own lives and the marks they wish to leave behind. Just as the film progresses through the grey London skies, it also navigates the light and shadow of human existence, bestowing its moments of clarity and joy with an amplified poignancy. In its quiet, understated way, Living asks its audience to ponder what it truly means to live, making it an enduring and meditative cinematic experience.

Living is a 2022 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 81.

Where to Watch Living
Living is available to watch, stream, download and buy, rent on demand at Netflix, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Living for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (31,689)
  • Metascore