First Images from THE HIGH COST OF LIVING Starring Zach Braff, Isabelle Blais, and Patrick Labbé

     August 19, 2010

One of the many films premiering at  this year’s Toronto Film Festival is first time feature director Deborah Chow’s The High Cost of Living.  While Chow previously made two short films in 2004 (The Hill) and 2002 (Daypass), this is her first feature and she landed Zach Braff (Scrubs) as her lead.  Here’s the short synopsis:

Deborah Chow’s dark drama centres on the burgeoning relationship between an unlikely pair. Nathalie (Isabelle Blais) is expecting her first child and Henry (Zach Braff) is on his way to his next drug deal. Their paths fatefully collide one night in an event that will irrevocably change their lives.

Hit the jump for the first images and a more detailed synopsis:

I’m a fan of Braff from his work on Scrubs and his movie Garden State, so I’ll definitely be checking this film out when I’m at TIFF next month.  Look for a review soon after.  Until then, here are the images, followed by a lot more info on the film via the official TIFF website.

And if you missed our previous first look images articles, here’s a few links:

  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: English and French
  • Producer: Kimberley Berlin and Susan Schneir
  • Executive Producer: Walter Klymkiw and Heidi Levitt
  • Screenplay: Deborah Chow
  • Runtime: 92
  • Principle Cast: Zach Braff, Isabelle Blais, Patrick Labbé
  • Director: Deborah Chow
  • Producer: Kimberley Berlin and Susan Schneir
  • Executive Producer: Walter Klymkiw and Heidi Levitt
  • Cinematographer: Claudine Sauvé
  • Editor: Jonathan Alberts and Benjamin Duffield
  • Sound: Bruno Pucella
  • Production Designer: Susan MacQuarrie

Here’s the detailed synopsis.  Be warned, it’s loaded with spoilers:

Though they live in the same Montreal neighborhood, Nathalie Beauchamp (Isabelle Blais) and Henry Welles (Zach Braff) exist in completely different worlds. Eight months pregnant, Nathalie is anxiously preparing for the birth of her first child at her elegant and immaculate home. Henry casually weaves in and out of scruffy establishments, delivering illegal pharmaceuticals to his customers and pausing only to drink and dance with friends. Their lives fatefully collide one night in a car accident; Henry hits Nathalie and, in a panic, cuts and runs.

Beset by guilt, Henry sets out to find Nathalie and is relieved to discover she survived the accident. But he doesn’t stop there and seeks out a chance meeting while concealing his involvement in the crash. When Nathalie shares the news that her child did not survive and that she must give birth to her stillborn daughter, it shakes Henry to the core. Thus begins the focus of Deborah Chow’s intimate and deftly directed debut: the burgeoning relationship between this unlikely pair.

Although married, Nathalie’s wound-up, workaholic husband is unavailable and inattentive. Henry seems just the opposite – caring, charming and fun – and he easily slips into the role of her friend and confidant. As the police intensify their search for the hit-and-run driver, Henry’s past misdeeds and the looming question of how he will tell her the truth begin to take centre stage.

A marvel in her raw performance as a woman carrying the tragic reminder of a shattered dream, Blais is the perfect counterpoint to Braff’s conflicted Henry, who manages to earn our sympathies in unexpected ways. The two capture the cross-currents of emotion in their inevitably doomed relationship and enliven Chow’s fine script. Chow has clearly cultivated the talent she displayed in her short film The Hill, which premiered at the Festival in 2004. It is a delight to present her mature, heartfelt and accomplished debut feature.

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