Director: Zach Braff
Written by: Zach Braff
Garden State is a depressing yet heart-warming film that makes you look at the problems in your life and to question whether they are really problems or more of a problematic situation that can easily be solved with the right attitude and motive. I love Zach Braffs and Natalie Portmans' characters as they are so polar opposite that they work. There are parts of both personalities that I feel can relate specifically to anyone that feels kinda lost and on 'auto pilot'.... just cruising through their life, not really sure of what's happening to them or around them. Braffs' persona delivers the meaning of the story at an intense full blast, as he is so self-obsessive, lost and troubled that his self-destructive path highlights to the viewers how when we're going through the same stuff, we can be so oblivious to how everyone else sees us. On the other hand, Portmans' character is so naive and kooky, but refreshingly so in tune with the world around her. This helps guide the story as she does enable Braff to open up and just feel free without being pushy, but from just being in her presence, he is able to push himself out of this blah world he has created and take life by the hand. Watching their innocent relationship blossom shows us how the most unlikely people are the ones who can save us from ourselves.
Garden State is a film that conveys the message that you should seize every moment and be aware that by closing yourself off and having no faith in anyone is really going to get you nowhere. I think it's a really powerful message to convey, but this movie does it so well, without it sitting heavy on our minds or causing us to feel like we've sat through an appointment with a shrink. It does always leave me thinking by the end, but in a good way as I think if more people thought about life and the good that can come from it, then maybe more people could stop attaching so much pressure to themselves.
Braff is notoriously well known for staring in the comedy 'Scrubs' and despite his involvement in directing a few of the episodes, Garden State is so different from anything else he has ever worked on that it makes you aware that people have sides to them that you may never have known of. To be so funny and comical but then to make such a moving film is really very impressive and shows he has pocketfuls of talent. The music too compliments the mood of the film as they choose to involve, 'The Shins', 'Colin Hay', 'Nick Drake' and some 'Art and Garfunkel' which is a compilation of mellow tunes that mesh well with the intense story. I feel that if they had some loud rock music or something very obvious then it would distract too much from the film. Fittingly, the end credit by Essex band 'Frou Frou' pieces this masterpiece together by telling us to just....'Let Go'.