"Living 'til the End" is a very stylish, atmospheric drama with a very humorous (and clever) premise. Notice how I didn't refer to it as either a "rom" or a "com" even though the DVD description might lead you to expect a whimsical date flick.
An introverted freak named Jack (Sean Maher) is told by a psychic that he will die in 1 year. Soon after, he meets an extroverted freak named Audrey who is dying. There is just enough bizarreness to keep the story funny, but make no mistake, this is a heavy subject focusing on death and how we choose to live our limited lives.
I got some good LOLs, and both leading actors did a great job and provide some nice eye candy. At one point my date looked at me in disbelief and said, "These have to be the two best looking screwed up people I've ever seen." And I believe that's part of the surreal presentation. Without wasting our time with the standard romcom subplots of dating, attraction, fidelity and such, this film cuts through all the BS and shows us two people who instantly connect and who seem to have their lives (and hair) in perfect order, with the 1 exception of the fact that they're both facing impending death.
As such, writer/director Amanda Goodwin creates an almost perfect fantasy world with no unnecessary distractions, all right in the heart of New York City. Set design is almost sterile in its perfection, reminding me of the excellent Paul Thomas Anderson flick "Punch Drunk Love" which similarly creates a surreal urban fairytale background.
I noticed what may have been a few artistic nods toward French New Wave master Jean-Luc Godard, in particular a tight dialogue scene where, rather than cutting to different cameras on each person, there is 1 camera that pans back & forth. But what's funny is that she alternated this disorienting editing style with deliberate clean cuts.
I would love to watch this film again, paying close attention to these unusual yet deliberate directing choices. I haven't had my artistic interest so piqued by a directoral debut since I saw Vincent Gallo's excellent 1st film "Buffalo 66" (whose fans would really like this movie as well). Alas, at the time, I was more interested in stealthily maneuvering my arm around my date than the camera maneuvers. I went with the classic yawn/stretch move, but as you can guess it didn't work.
And it didn't work because ultimately, as I said up front, this is not a good date movie. It's not the sort of cutesy, silly, light fare you play in the background whilst you're maneuvering your hand around your date. "Living til the End" is a powerful, thought-provoking film hidden under a candy coated exterior. Watch it by yourself with a bottle of red wine or maybe some whiskey. As for date night, I dunno. I hear there's a new Hugh Grant flick coming out. Maybe he'll salvage my love life.