Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Garden State [2004]

Director: Zach Braff
Cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman ♥, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rating: Adult
Comment: "Zach Braff proved that there's more to him than just good comedic timing..."


Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is a semi-successful actor who also waits tables at a Vietnamese restaurant. Despite the lifestyle he leads, Andrew is a lonesome, depressed young man on heavy medication. The rhythm of his life changes when he receives a phone call from home informing him of his mother's demise. He journeys back home, reconnects with old friends and sees what has become of the place he once called home. It all proves to be the answer he needs to his life's questions.

What to Expect
1. Smooth and mellow plot progression
2. Spectacular soundtrack
3. Interesting and colourful characters
4. A boy-meets-girl story

What NOT to Expect
1. Scrubs' wacky humour

For a while, I thought I wouldn't be able to take Zach Braff seriously as an actor because of his breakout role as John Dorian from the hit television series Scrubs [2001-2010]. But then he exceeded all of my expectations by writing, directing and starring in this movie. Sure, his transition from the wacky JD to this comparatively more serious Andrew wasn't too jarring, after all Garden State is a dramedy.

And it's the best one I've seen in quite some time.

And I'm not just saying that because there's a wet Natalie Portman in it...
You might remember me mention in my previous entries that I love it when movies are very atmospheric and ethereal, it's the kind that will make me dim the lights in my room, make myself some tea, lean back and just immerse myself in the storytelling. Some examples include My Blueberry Nights [2007], Mr. Nobody [2009], Howl [2010], The Big Bang [2011] and of course, this movie is the latest addition to all that.

Because that's what the plot progression felt like. It's smooth, mellow and perfect for a lazy afternoon. You'll see the protagonist going through some spiritual journey and in my case, I can relate to it. Also, thanks to its soundtrack, it further gave the movie that unique air it had. In fact, I felt like it was so integral to the movie that it couldn't have been done any other way. I can't say much about it here, it's just something you have to see to get it.

So yeah, the premise may have been about this guy going on a spiritual journey, but for the most part it was also a boy-meets-girl story, along with a cast of colourful characters to keep you amused throughout the movie. Give it a try. As long as you're not expecting the kind of movie starred by the likes of Matthew McConaughey, it will be worth your time.

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