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Movies: Garden State
Monday, 2004 November 8 - 9:52 pm
Zach Braff, known mainly for his role on the NBC show "Scrubs", wrote and directed this heartfelt film.

I finally got around to seeing "Garden State" a week ago. This is a movie that has received a lot of critical acclaim, but also a lot of "I don't get it" remarks. In that and other respects, it reminded me of a less-surreal and more-accessible version of the movie "Punch Drunk Love".

The story centers on Andrew Largeman (Braff), a man who returns home to New Jersey for his mother's funeral. His estranged father (Ian Holm) was also his childhood psychiatrist, and was responsible for his many mood-altering drug prescriptions. While in New Jersey, Andrew goes through a period of self-discovery, trying to reconcile with his father and his past while falling into a serendipitous romance.

For fans of "Scrubs", seeing Braff as the disaffected, romantic, neurotic protagonist should be familiar; it seems a natural role for him. The real joy in this movie is Natalie Portman (in the role of Andrew's love interest, Sam), who just might rescue her career from the depths of "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" hell. It's nice to see what she can do when she's given a bit of clever dialogue and a character with some depth.

The criticism I have of this movie is that it takes a very frequently-used movie theme ("put the past behind you and live life to the fullest") and doesn't breathe much new life into it. In that respect, I also found it comparable to "Lost in Translation".

Still, I found the movie funny and poignant, and Braff should be commended for his debut. Let's hope we see more of his work soon.

Rating: 3.5 / 5
Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: moviesreviews

Comments

Comment #1 from Ken (realkato)
2004 Nov 20 - 12:36 am : #
By the way, the soundtrack to this movie is amazing. I'll have a full review of it posted later.
Comment #2 from tom (Guest)
2008 Jun 29 - 11:28 pm : #
It is nice. I like it very much.

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