Timing is everything in life. Some days being on time is the difference in catching a bus, missing traffic from an accident, or getting the last donut from the box by the coffee machine. Today the time was just right for me to take in Garden State.

We are coming off a hell of a weekend here in the U.S. I don’t need to go into the events that have been in the news for you to understand that, nor do I need to make any
comment or stir the pot on what your opinion is about what happened. I can tell you this however: my bride to be is a second grade teacher in a “nice” neighborhood, so the tragedy hit pretty close to home, even though we are miles away. Without any further mention, the timing was perfect for this film.

Garden State tells the story of a young actor returning to his hometown after the passing of his mother. Andrew Largeman, mostly referred to as “Large” is played by Zach Braff. I know what you’re thinking already, because if you were a fan of the show “Scrubs” or if you hated it, you most likely want to punch Zach Braff in the face. But my first compliment to this film is that by the end of the first 30 minutes, you totally forget that you are watching Braff play the lead role.

Large had been very over medicated his entire life, due to his father’s dual role of dad and psychiatrist. His return home for his mother’s funeral is the first visit back in 9 years. His short-lived fame from his notable acting role has kept a place in his old friend’s hearts, and we meet them throughout the early part of the film. Then, when he is extremely late for an appointment with a local physician, he meets what will become the love of his life, Sam. Timing. Sam is played by Natalie Portman, and if you read me regularly (or just 2 weeks ago) you know that this makes the film watchable for me instantaneously. Oddly, after a short while after her character introduction, you don’t realize you are watching her either. Just the story of a young couple, getting to know each other throughout a very odd and somewhat dark set of circumstances.

This is what I love about the film though. It is totally character and dialogue driven. There are some other respectable actors in the film, but the story is what captures you, not the actors. They all do a great job, which contributes to the overall appeal of the movie, but for 102 minutes, you are really sucked into the middle of this intimate group of characters.

There is a ton of small humor interlaced into the script as well. I dare not ruin any of the delivery, but the picture of Large in a shirt that one of his mother’s friends made for him should be a small glimpse.

When I turned this film on I had no idea of what to expect. Really I expected to finish it and make fun of Braff for a few paragraphs and call it a night, but I have to eat my own short sidedness on this one. Wouldn’t you know it, he wrote it and directed the film to boot. Shows what I know about the movie business.

Top 15%, but it could just be the timing involved with me watching this today.


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