2022, UK/Japan/Sweden, 102 min.
In early 1950s London, lifelong bureaucrat Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy), whose life is all rigid routine and almost comatose stoicism, receives a shattering diagnosis. After a couple of attempts at living life to the fullest—including a drunken, sentimental night in a seaside town—he devotes his attention to a small, crumbling, neighborhood playground. This short, bittersweet character study leans heavily on Nighy’s exquisite, Oscar-nominated performance—you can practically see the weight of buried feelings in every gesture—and the narrative shifts in Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s script. But Living’s bittersweet, even rueful, message emerges. Committing the smallest act, even in the autumn of our years, can tie up many loose ends, though some matters of the heart remain heartbreakingly unresolved. Adapted from Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru.