Skip to main content

Living–A Life Worth Remembering

Inspired by the Japanese cinematic masterpiece “Ikiru” (“to live”)  by Akira Kurosawa,  Living is set in a post-war 1950s London office, the Department of Public Works, responsible for issuing building permits.

In a stultifying, paper-shuffling bureaucratic agency, septuagenarian Williams (Bill Nighy in his 2023 Academy Award nominated role) manages a crowded office crammed with  young civil servants. They are terrified of the old geezer,  whom they have nicknamed “Zombie” for his lack of apparent emotion and his robotic demand for propriety at all times. 

Williams is a widower with an estranged son and somewhat acquisitive daughter-in-law.  He  has led a life with very little meaning or joy. After a health crisis, Williams regrets his sleepwalking through life, and slowly becomes reborn, due to two young coworkers who have not yet given up on the Zombie.

Nighy’s  performance makes this at-times sluggish but nevertheless,  worth-watching.   In the role of a repressed Englishman obsessively moored to habit, Nighy is a marvel to watch. His nuanced, understated performance as a stoic man who has lost almost everything is guaranteed to be deeply moving. 

 This film is character-driven, not action-driven.  The screenplay,  written by novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (“Remains of the Day,” “Klara and the Sun”),is  based on his short story. The movie underscores  the predilection in both Japanese and British culture to restrain from expressing emotion, either positive or negative.   Part art-house cinema,  part Masterpiece Theater, Living is not for viewers who prefer a more intense storyline.  

Availability:  Netflix streaming 

Note: Living embarks on a similar scene to “The Whale,” (see my review of June 26, 2023) and is a story of redemption and remembrance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to my Newsletter

* indicates required
Jun0 Posts
Jul0 Posts
Aug0 Posts
Sep0 Posts
Oct0 Posts
Nov0 Posts
Dec0 Posts
Jan0 Posts
Feb0 Posts
Mar0 Posts
Apr0 Posts
May0 Posts
Jun0 Posts
Jul0 Posts
Aug0 Posts
Sep0 Posts
Oct0 Posts