Culture Films

Still Life

28 October 2015
Une belle fin/ Still Life

Still Life is a British drama that was released in 2015. Written and produced by Uberto Pasolini, it stars Eddie Marsan and Joanne Froggatt (aka Anna in Downton Abby!). It focuses on a meticulous middle aged man whose job is to organize funerals and cremations for the people who die alone in his area.


A 44 year old man named John May has worked most of his life for the local council. When somebody passes away, it is his job to try to find their family and friends in order for them to retrieve the body and plan a funeral or a cremation. Unfortunately, he often organizes and attends the ceremonies himself as nobody else wants to come.

Take a look at the trailer to get a better idea:

What I thought

This is a very quiet, slow moving film. And I mean that in a good way. There is an overall gentleness in the main character who firmly believes that each and every one of us deserves a proper funeral, no matter what mistakes we made when we were alive.

This is an emotionally charged film, as it illustrates the fear that a lot of us have of dying alone and of nobody caring when we do. Watching the character take pains to honour each of his cases is heartwarming and sad at the same time, especially since he doesn’t seem to have a personal life of his own.

I loved Eddie Marsan’s acting: he was a very convincing (and hilarious) villain in Hancock and fantastic in Happy Go Lucky as a furious driving school teacher. I am glad that this film gave him a chance to be in the limelight for a change, and as a positive character as well! In my opinion, he really managed to capture the perfect body language – stiff, unmoving, almost passive – in order to project the soul of a very particular, quiet man full of compassion and understanding.

The love story that begins to unfold is sweet and uplifting. Seeing John May begin to actually enjoy his own life – and the gift it represents – is a welcome sight.

After watching this film to the end, I must admit I felt gloomy but it had a positive message that went well with the bittersweet ending. This is not a joyful film but it is definitely worth watching! Let me know what you think of it if you do !

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