September 05, 2004

Amateur Movie Review- Garden State

I went with the Mrs. Frinklin to see Garden State tonight. As anyone who reads the Missus’ blog knows, it’s just about her favorite movie ever. I wasn’t quite so blown away, but I liked it. While it lapses into melodrama sometimes, and the ending is a bit too pat for my taste, Garden State is funny and pleasant, certainly better than most multiplex fare. It’s written and directed by Zach Braff, star of the current Best Show on Television, Scrubs. The BSTV is basically whatever my favorite show at the time is, but that just isn’t grand enough.

Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a struggling LA actor who heads home for his mother’s funeral. He’s been estranged from his father for years, and is on so many psyche meds he’s lost in an emotionless fog. He reconnects with old friends, meets Natalie Portman’s Sam, and slowly learns how to feel again. If I made that last part sound unbearably schmaltzy, rest assured it isn’t, at least not until the ending, which seems somewhat tacked on. Braff has a nice ear for dialogue, and the performances, led by Braff and Peter Sarsgaard as Andrew’s slacker friend Mark, are uniformly excellent. Portman is damn near a revelation, proving that George Lucas hasn’t completely crushed her will to perform, giving real heart and emotional heat to what is essentially a stock role.

The movie is really worth seeing, and the soundtrack is excellent too, combining newer bands like Frou Frou and The Shins with a couple of lost folk classics, Nick Drake’s One of These Things First and Simon and Garfunkle’s Only Living Boy in New York.

Posted by Frinklin at September 5, 2004 11:04 PM
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