‘Living’ reviews round-up: Bill Nighy is ‘sublime’ in 1950s-set ‘masterpiece’

Bill Nighy’s acclaimed new drama Living is out in cinemas this week!

A reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, the new movie is set in London in the early 1950s.

Living tells 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 – into one he can say has been lived to the full.

Watch the trailer here:


Alongside Bill Nighy (Love Actually), the cast also includes Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education), Alex Sharp (The Trial of the Chicago 7), and Tom Burke (The Musketeers).

Here’s a clip:


The official synopsis reads: “1953. A London shattered by WWII is still recovering. Williams (Bill Nighy), a veteran civil servant, is an impotent cog within the city’s bureaucracy as it struggles to rebuild.

“Buried under paperwork at the office, lonely at home, his life has long felt empty and meaningless. Then a shattering medical diagnosis forces him to take stock – and to try and grasp fulfilment before it goes beyond reach.”

We’ve got another clip here:


A hit with critics when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Living arrives in UK cinemas on Friday 4th November.

We’ve rounded up a spoiler-free selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch the film:


“Bill Nighy is brilliant in this graceful, affecting Akira Kurosawa remake … This remake of the 1952 Japanese drama Ikiru, about a man given months to live, shouldn’t work – but it does, magnificently.” ★★★★★ – The Telegraph


“Really quite something: a rare remake that only augments and enriches the original. For Bill Nighy, meanwhile, it feels in every sense like the role of a lifetime.” ★★★★★ – Empire


“The film, though set in another time period, speaks to the present, where the stress of the everyday makes it increasingly difficult to live life to its fullest. The film, with its warmth, emotion, and earnestness, is a reminder that the act of living, and not just going through the motions, is a choice worth making.” – Screen Rant


“Bill Nighy is brilliantly understated in this poignant, powerful drama.” ★★★★ – iNews


Living offers a rare example of the remake of a masterpiece that can stand with the original.” – Sight & Sound


“Bill Nighy is sublime in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Kurosawa remake … The veteran actor shines in this rare outing as a leading man.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard


“A call to arms not to waste a second you’ve been given … Bill Nighy puts in a career-best performance in an emotionally searing redo of Kurosawa’s Ikiru.” ★★★★★ – Time Out


“Bill Nighy is note-perfect in this moving study of mortality … The veteran actor proves a model of restraint in a mesmerising drama.” ★★★★ – The Times


Living is a stylish rumination on old age, dying and living to the fullest … Bill Nighy is majestic in poetically crafted ode to life.” – City AM


“Bill Nighy tackles life and death in exquisitely sad drama.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian


Living may best suited for those who haven’t seen Ikiru, who can approach it without the distraction of identifying the one-to-one comparisons.” – Slant


“Bill Nighy delivers an almost startling transformation in this beautiful period drama … In a performance tipped for Oscar attention, the British actor sheds his trademark, twinkling charisma like snakeskin.” ★★★★ – The Independent


Living will get a limited theatrical release in the US on Friday 23rd December.

Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.