The High Cost of Living Reviews
As much as I like Zach Braff, I found it difficult to believe his performance as a drug dealer. The film doesn't follow his business workings too closely, and it's a good thing because the genial, charismatic Braff looks out of place with a five o'clock shadow and a cigarette. Most of the drama takes place between Braff's character and an inscrutable performance by Isabelle Blais. The result is a film that is remarkably improbable but also quite predictable.
Overall, I'm all for actors who expand their boundaries, but this is what it looks like what an experiment goes wrong.
What the problem of the film is, and why it probably wasn't seen on a larger scale (besides there being a good chunk of it in French), is it's a little too indie for its own good. The general conceit of a man running over a pregnant woman in a hit and run, who then befriends and falls in love with her after she loses the child, is poorly contrived at worst or manipulatively heavy handed best. It would be very difficult to pull off for a veteran crew, and a near impossible task for a first-time writer-director. For their sake the actors make it work until it begins to break down towards the end, which of course has to be at least somewhat ambiguous because this is, after all, an independent. It also reminds me of Seven Pounds in some ways, in which a strong and unconventional central performance by a "star" had trouble overcoming the faulty storytelling, although at least Living never gets as emotionally overwrought. So despite some nice lead performances, the rest of the cast and skill behind the camera leave a lot to be desired, and while it does have some brilliant moments, as a whole it just can't quite fully sustain itself.