Movie Review: Living * A Heartbreaking Story About A Bureaucrat Who Learns He Has A Terminal Illness And Is Galvanized To Make A Difference In His Life
Living is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “Living illustrates that films are not just a source of entertainment…This film tells a heartbreaking story about a bureaucrat who learns he has a terminal illness and is then galvanized to make a difference in his life and in those around him.” See her full review below.
Living By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Living illustrates that films are not just a source of entertainment. They can make us examine social awareness, consciousness and our values. This film tells a heartbreaking story about a bureaucrat who learns he has a terminal illness and is then galvanized to make a difference in his life and in those around him.
Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) is a civil servant in 1950s London whose life is one of dull routine. Once he is notified that he has roughly six months remaining, he realizes that he no longer knows how to enjoy life and has become trapped in a meaningless existence. He attaches himself to others to observe life and thus makes changes from his friendship with his subordinate, Ms. Harris (Aimee Lou Wood) who notably adds spark to the movie and his life. He enjoys her appetite for life and remembers what it is to be alive. This realization motivates him to return to work and make important changes. His colleagues in the Public Works Department notice his dramatic change and he sets an example for his team to follow.
Living is a historical drama with splendid costuming and detailing in all the various sets used throughout the film. Every minute detail under director Oliver Hermanus provides the viewer immersion into this period piece. Costume designer Sandy Powell, along with the various artists who work on hair and make-up support the depth of this story. Bill Nighy gives a compelling performance as a man who resurrects his life and I particularly enjoyed his singing in this movie. The cast is very good in this film and it was a pleasure to watch him interact with all of the various actors as they portray various work stereotypes.
The film’s message is that it is never too late to change the direction of your life and to influence those around you. Mr. Williams remembers not to push things under the rug and not to shy away from responsibility. It is an important message and reminder to us all to live life to the fullest. There are no scenes that younger viewers cannot watch, but the seriousness of the film and topic does not lend itself to younger viewers.
I give Living 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This movie is available in select theaters January 17, 2023.