Living, the latest movie to hit cinemas today sees award-winning actor Bill Nighy facing his mortality and making difficult decisions. Here Suzie Kennedy shares her thoughts on the moving film and how it reminded her of God’s messages to us.
If you knew you had a few months to live, would you do things differently? With the dark evenings and cold winter around the corner watching a film about a man given a terminal cancer diagnosis doesn’t make me want to rush off to the cinema.I prefer a film that makes me feel good. Yet Living, the latest film starring Bill Nighy, did exactly that.
We know death does not discriminate. Sadly we all know someone who has passed away. And thinking about our own mortality can be uncomfortable. However, if you knew when death was coming would you choose to start living differently?
This is the question explored in Living as the story follows the life of Mr Williams, a quiet civil servant played by Nighy after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis. The film is based on the 1952 film, Ikiru by Akita Kurosawa and set, like the original, with the backdrop of a post second world war London.
I could feel the sadness in the scene when Mr Williams was sat alone in the doctor’s office being given the awful news.
Lovers of all things vintage will enjoy the cinematography. The opening credits are styled to look like the film was made in 1950. Yet the reality of life and death is always present.
As someone who has received a cancer diagnosis, I could feel the sadness in the scene when Mr Williams was sat alone in the doctor’s office being given the awful news. Unlike my diagnosis, there was no treatment option for the lead character. Given months to live, we watch as the central character decides whether to induldge in some fun, reckless behaviour or make a real difference in his final days.
The film isn’t a religious one, but at its heart was the Christian message. The character recognised that his legacy was the difference he made for the benefit of others. This is particularly moving when we see the impact Williams had on his colleagues and how they would go on to live their lives.
This film shows us that death - which impacts us all - can also be a reminder to really live.
I couldn’t help but think of John 13:15: “I have set you and example that you should do as I have done for you.” What Williams contributed to the community may have felt small but the ripple effect would turn out to be huge. It is a reminder of what God commanded in Matthew 13:31: “God’s kingdom is like an acorn that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge oak tree and eagles build nests in.” This film shows us that death - which impacts us all - can also be a reminder to really live.