Ikiru is 2hr23mins of subtitles. I have to say that first, because in today’s world, that’s a big time investment where you can’t do anything but follow along. Still, it’s on Critereon’s classic list for a reason. The story follows snippets of the protagonist’s life after he learns he has 6 months left to live. He’s spent his life as a bureaucrat, and has an epiphany: his life has been wasted. He flails about looking for his own purpose, and confirmation his life had not been without meaning.
What should be a straight-forward examination of a life is of course never as simple as it surfacely appears. The protagonist, named Kanji Wantanabe, takes those six months and fills the time with an exploration of what it means to be alive, and finally seizes a purpose which had already existed within his own grasp all along.
It’s worth a rainy afternoon, with no maudlin scenes and a life-affirming ending that will make you glad you watched.