A movie from Miramax
written and directed by Zach Braff
, of Scrubs
fame, and starring Mr. Braff alongside Natalie Portman
The plot of Garden State is fairly simple. Andrew 'Large' Largeman (Zach Braff) returns home to New Jersey for his mother's funeral. Andrew has been living in Los Angeles and working as an actor, a pursuit he's had some success in -- though the only role he's well known for is playing a mentally challenged football player.
While waiting for a doctor's appointment, Andrew meets Sam (Natalie Portman). The two hit it off and the rest of the movie is mostly them spending time together both alone, with her family, and with his friends, one of whom has become extremely wealthy following his sale of the patent to silent velcro.
The movie is organized, largely, into scenes where Andrew goes from place to place and never quite seems to settle down in any one place. Whether he's at his mother's burial or hanging out with his friends, he always seems out of place, not necesserily to those around but rather, to himself. Every place is strange, every person is a stranger.
Though the movie carries many characteristics of a Love Story, the love that tries to be central is often pushed aside as just another aspect of Andrew's search for self. Sam is his confessor, and she is his shoulder to cry on but at the end, one is left with fairly grave misgivings about just how much Andrew feels what he says he does, and how much he knows about what he's feeling.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable, especially for a native New Jersian such as myself. There are some moments of really quality screenwriting and, though most of the acting is extremely low affect, it really serves the movie well. And, of course, there is the soundtrack which, for my money, is superb and, whatever you think of it apart from the movie, is integrated smoothly into the feel the movie creates, the feel of going home and not knowing where exactly that is anymore.