Today while I was sick home I watched Garden State (Rated R, 109 minutes) for the first time since I caught it in the movie theaters. Every so often there is a movie that really clicks with me, Swingers, High Fidelity, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and now Garden State has been added to that list. Writer/Director Zach Braff does a great job in his debut film in which he also plays the lead role of Andrew Largeman. Andrew is a struggling actor living in Los Angeles where he recieves word from his father that his mother has died. He returns home to New Jersey for the first time in 10 years to attend the funeral but also discovers himself for the first time and begins to feel. During his trip he runs into some old friends from high school and also meets a girl Sam, played by Natalie Portman. His trip to New Jersey is not only for the funeral but he decides to take a vacation from the medication he has been taking in some form or another since he was ten (Lithium), that were prescribed by his psychiatrist father.
With Sam and his new found ability to feel, Andrew wakes up and discovers himself in ways he didn’t know he could. Natalie Portman is brilliant in this movie playing a free spirited girl who seems to know all about life. The movie is supported by a strong soundtrack which helps convey the mood throughout the film.
This is a brilliant work. The type of work someone could only create before they really hit it big. Independent film at it’s finest which is why I give it a $9 out of $9.