The High Cost of Living

Mike is the movie buff in our relationship and he's always up-to-date on the latest independent movies. He showed me the trailer for The High Cost of Living and, once again, his impeccable taste and fathomless film knowledge came in handy.

Starring Zach Braff and Isabelle Blais, The High Cost of Living is a movie about two lives that collide following a terrible accident. Braff plays Henry, a drug dealer living on an expired visa in Montreal. He doesn't seem to be a particularly decent person, but you can't help hoping things work out for him by the end of the film. Blais portrays Nathalie, a pregnant woman caught in the misery of a lonely marriage. Tragic circumstances bring these two separate lives together and soon Henry becomes the most positive and caring force in distraught Nathalie's life. Though it seems Henry is exactly what the doctor called for to pull Nathalie through, he fails to divulge a huge secret relating to the accident which rather complicates this relationship. Though the circumstances of the accident and this secret are revealed within the first ten minutes of the film, I felt that the way it all came together on screen was too well done to give away all the details now. You'll just have to watch and see.

I almost want to call The High Cost of Living a feel-gooder, though the majority of the film is dark, heavy, and gloomy. Quirky moments of levity pop up occasionally, but the very conditions that structure the story told by the film are depressing in and of themselves. Though I found myself quite stoic and sad throughout the majority of the movie, it was a bit heartwarming to see a happy ending of sorts - at least, as happy an ending as was realistic and plausible. It doesn't necessarily make you feel warm and fuzzy inside but it speaks to the ultimate goodness in people which was held questionable for the prior 80-odd minutes.

The High Cost of Living requires a certain mood of its viewer - it's definitely not appropriate when you're in the market for a simple and light-hearted romantic comedy. But the film tells an important and engaging story, brought to life by a small cast of talented actors. The questions raised about the moral and psychological costs of life are the kinds that I wish more movies would ask of viewers. All in all, The High Cost of Living is definitely worth watching but don't expect quite what you're used to from Braff as this role is a bit of a departure for him.


  1. Thank u to Mike!.. I love Zach Braf... I put this in my que at Netflix...

  2. Saved it in my netflix queue - the preview made it look really good. I love most of Zach Braff's movies, and his character definitely looks darker and grittier in this one. Can't wait!


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