‘Living’ Depicts Bill Nighy in His Greatest Role – Oscars, Take Note

Ulises Duenas


“Living” is a good movie that turns into a memorable gem because of its lead actor. Bill Nighy’s performance in this film is its heart and soul and makes for a profound and charming story.


Nighy plays Mr. Williams, a civil servant who has lived his entire life by routine in an endless cycle of monotony. After a terminal diagnosis, he decides that if his time is soon at an end, he will finally start living to the fullest.  It’s not an original premise, but the setting of 1950s London and the general tone of the film makes you understand how Williams ended up as a mere cog in the machine. 



What makes Nighy’s performance so good is that he shows wide range, while also maintaining a quiet dignity with his character. When Williams is drinking and singing, it’s a far cry from who he was, but you can tell it’s still the character going through a metamorphosis. Williams is a charming character whom you want to root for, while also having the bitter knowledge in the back of your head that he’s not long for this world. 


There have been other movies in the past that explore a younger character’s reaction to their impending death, but this take is refreshing. Williams has had plenty of time to live a full life and has chosen to stay in the rut that’s been dug for him. The diagnosis is certainly sad news, but it doesn’t have the same tragic feeling as when a younger life in its prime is cut short. Williams’ quiet nature and dignity are the result of his long, uneventful life and seeing him become more of a free spirit is almost magical.



This speaks to just how good of an actor Nighy is because without him, the movie would only be above average. The script and other characters in the film are also admirable, but they wouldn’t have made a particularly impactful movie without Nighy. I can see how some viewers could come to the conclusion that the movie is boring because everything feels so subdued. It’s a tone and energy that fits the setting and story, but it also means that “Living” won’t be appreciated by everyone.


“Living” isn’t that long, coming in a little below two hours and Nighy’s performance will stay with you for years since his character is likely to resonate with viewers. If you can appreciate a slow burn and subdued movie, then you’ll greatly appreciate this one.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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