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Living - Film Review

★★★

Directed by: #OliverHermanus

 

As part of BFI London Film Festival 2022

Bill Nighy in Living

What a wonderful, charming little film this is. It’s interesting how every film I’ve watched so far at this year’s festival has had a focus on the human condition. Living explores, as the title suggests, the notion of living. Not just existing, but actually learning to live a little. To leave comfort zones and push just a smidge harder for something that will bring some ounce of happiness. Living follows an older gentlemen’s final tenure; after hearing the dreadful news that he only has 6 months to live—8 or 9, at a push—he decides to provoke a change within himself.


Bill Nighy’s performance here is a showcase of pure intimacy and tenderness. Much like a handful of other actors starring in the other films at the festival this year, Nighy’s leading charisma shines through above a bed of other splendid actors. There are two scenes where I felt particularly affected by the rawness present in this performance. One where Williams tries to work up the courage to tell his son about his illness, and the other comes from a small monologue in conversation over drinks. Unfortunately, as the film chugs along at its steady pace, it reaches a destination that feels quite final. But due to a strange structure that clunks around during the final portion of the film, the graceful warmth that filled every scene prior, is slowly cooled to a soft chill.


That’s not to say that Living isn’t successful in achieving what it wants; it absolutely is. But, the final 20 minutes or so leans too hard into being bigger than itself, and ends up feeling quite stale. Though, it falls back into a safe and comfortable position for the final shot that drifts off gently into the credits, where sniffles may be heard from an older generation in the audience. Living is a visually pleasing, delicate film and whilst it suffers from a few stagnant moments that bring it to a slow, it doesn’t come to a complete stop until those tissues are being reached for in its final seconds. It’s not incredible, but it is wonderfully charming.


BFI London Film Festival 2022 runs from October 5th - 16th, for more info visit:


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