What is Witty Watching?

Living – Movie Review
February 10, 2023

Synopsis: In 1950s London, a humorless civil servant decides to take time off work to experience life after receiving a grim diagnosis.
Director: Oliver Hermanus
Stars: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood

Bill Nighy has over 150 acting credits on his resume. He has been in film series such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter but also films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hoteland Notes on a Scandal. As he is quite versatile, he can do comedy as well as drama. Nighy is likely most known for the role of rock star Billy Mack in the film that should be on anyone’s Christmas movie marathon list, Love Actually. His scene-stealing performance in that film won him a much-deserved BAFTA Award.

The latest film to star the English actor is Living. It is based on the 1952 film of the same name, directed by Akira Kurosawa and inspired by a novella by Leo Tolstoy.

Nighy plays Williams, a very matter-of-fact civil servant who is going through life with his simple ‘go to work, come home…repeat’ routine. Williams lives with his son and daughter-in-law; the latter isn’t thrilled about the arrangement. At work, as the ‘elder statesman’ in the office, his colleagues respect him and his work ethic.

Williams receives a diagnosis and starts doing things he usually doesn’t do, much to the surprise of those around him. Williams is living his best life because he is now actually living.

He befriends Margaret (Aimee Lou Wood), and they start spending quite a bit of time together. This catches the attention of many, given the significant age difference between the two. Aimee Lee Wood is sweet in this film, showing once again how impressive the alumni from Sex Education is.

Living is a reminder that tomorrow isn’t promised and to make the most of one’s life. It also reinforces the importance of how we treat each other and the lasting effect we have on people who come into our world.

Nighy’s performance is very subtle but strong. He isn’t playing the audacious rock star we have all come to know and love, but one could argue you will appreciate this character just the same.

With cinematography from Jamie Ramsay and a great score from Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, this is an enjoyable watch.

Grade: B-

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