Do you realize how fantastic it is living mere blocks from a couple art house/indie movie theaters? It’s like a dream come true for me. Sunday night Lisa and I headed over to the Claridge Cinema to catch Garden State – Zach Braff‘s magnum opus. Now I’m already a fan of his from his excellent work in Scrubs. He simply oozes that quirky and self-deprecating wit for which I have such an affinity. I can’t help but feel a connection with his character, and who he appears to be as a real person. So Garden State was a fairly big must-see for myself. And what can I say, Zach certainly lives up to his praises.
I don’t want to say too much on the subject, because it’s a film best experienced without the expectations that too much publicity heap on. It is an intimate journey of one man’s confused existence trying to understand, not just how he got there, but where that actually is. I’m sure that doesn’t really make sense, but that’s not the point. The point is to get you to realize that this film says something beautiful, and it does so beautifully. The Garden State isn’t a place that people choose to be – it’s where they’re stuck. But whether you want to run away from it or run with it is up to you, and ultimately it’s not location that defines who you are. We all become trapped in our lives in one way or another. That doesn’t mean we still can’t make the choices that will make us happy. Especially when all it takes sometimes is to look in the mirror and laugh at yourself.
On top of it being well-written and directed, Garden State could represent Natalie Portman‘s “re-breakout” role. This is the performance I’ve been waiting for from her since Léon (aka The Professional). She is stunning, funny, touching, and oh-so realistic in her portrayal of the troubled Samantha. I can’t stress how perfectly she nailed that role and can merely close my eyes, click my heels, and hope that some sort of award floats her way.
So yeah, go see it. Now. I’m serious. 🙂