I arrived very early to the theater to watch this film. It was a 6:45 showing and I’d finished dinner early, so I strolled into the auditorium to take my pick of the seats and hunkered down to wait. It was really a blessing in disguise to have arrived so early, as I got to witness the entrance of my fellow audience members. Couple after couple meandered into the room, all hand in hand, all whispering softly as they carefully chose their seats. All of their heads, peeking above the back of the chairs, were covered in variations of white and gray. Seeing all of these older couples together made me smile, it was such a quiet, sweet sort of beauty.
I describe this to you, because the film mirrored that quiet sweetness that I witnessed from the couples in the movie theater. Obviously, Living isn’t an action film nor is it a romance. It’s simply about an older man named Mr. Williams and what he did with his life after realizing that it would end far sooner than he’d imagined. The premise itself sounds cliché even as I write it, but the film didn’t make a dramatic moment of the whole event. Instead, Williams decided that how he lived from that moment on would change. If he was going to die, he wanted to know what it was like to live joyfully, and there was no one better to teach him how to accomplish that than a woman from his workplace by the name of Miss Margaret Harris. Miss Harris was the key to joyfulness for Mr. William.
In many ways, the title of the film doesn’t just describe the plot, but also the way the movie is put together. Our lives aren’t an endless string of events. There are periods of rest; not everything is exciting, there are many moments of banality. The film replicates this with many scenes were there isn’t any dialogue at all, just the soft instrumental soundtrack playing along as the camera pans across the characters simply sitting. At times, these static moments don’t even involve a character.
I greatly appreciated how this film replicates a more realistic aspects of the lives we lead. It’s slow and soft; a bit boring at times and a bit sad at others.
Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who’s in the mood for something a little more real.