BASED on the film Ikiru by famed director Akira Kurosawa, with a screenplay by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro, and directed by Oliver Hermanus, Living is a compelling British drama that delves into a change of heart when you are faced with the prospect of dying soon.
Nominated for an Oscar as best actor, Bill Nighy is captivating as Mr Williams, the head of the Public Works Department in 1950s London.
It’s an era where the men wear distinguished suits and bowler hats, ladies are in rockabilly skirts and the department seems to push paper around from department to department, not achieving anything.
Mr Williams lives a disciplined life until he’s given an expiry date.
While living with his son and daughter-in-law he keeps this information to himself, as they don’t seem to care about him, mostly leaving him alone to an increasingly sad and lonely life.
To the surprise of his work colleagues, he takes time off to contemplate his future and is convinced to party a little by a complete stranger he meets when contemplating his foreshortened destiny.
Surprising us, Nighy has a lovely voice as Williams gets up to sing in a pub, a beautiful but drunken rendition of The Rowan Tree, a Scottish folk song.
While partying is not the way to go, a chance meeting with Miss Harris, (Aimee Lee Wood) who works with Williams and is leaving for another position, gives him renewed vigour and sense of purpose which knocks a few corners off his austere personality, and he changes his department around to achieve goals
Living is a testament to the power of human connection and the importance of living life to the fullest even in the face of adversity.
With stunning cinematography capturing the gritty beauty of post-war London, backed by a gentle soundtrack by Emilie Levienaise- Farrouch, this is a movie worth seeing.
By PAULA HOLLAND