By Eric Campos | February 5, 2005

Todd is a nursing home janitor who not only mops the floors and cleans the windows, but also takes to gladly helping out with the elderly patients, such as playing the antagonist in the George the Assertive Monkey exercise and talking on the phone to the various patients, pretending to be one of their loved ones or even God himself. Todd does the job that would quite possibly drive most people mad and he does it with a smile.
Of course, Todd tokes up on the way to work and he takes toke breaks while at work, so depending on what kind of bud you’re getting, you might be smiling while taking care of these old folks, too. Todd is apparently getting the good stuff.
But the good stuff begins to turn on Todd, as any good weed tends to do if you let it exercise your brain too much. The film takes a turn for the darker as Todd’s pot clouded mind gives him a different look at these helpless people he’s surrounded himself with. It grates at him and he falls into a depression, a depression similar to the one claiming many of the patients at the nursing home.
Todd starts slacking off and it takes his concern for a certain patient with a curious attraction to Australian weather that jolts him out of his rut.
Despite the often depressing nature of this film, it’s absolutely pretty to look at throughout – magnificently shot! Filmed at a real nursing home with many of the actual patients making appearances, it’s difficult at first to tell whether this is a documentary or a fictional work and this makes “Assisted Living” all the more involving. Ten minutes in, the person I was watching it with turned to me and asked if this was supposed to be a documentary or not. I didn’t have an answer for her, but I was more than happy that I was experiencing it all the same.

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