“Garden State” Review by Tarek Fayoumi


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Zach Braff brings a heartfelt drama with “Garden State.” We are introduced to his character’s life, but he finds a friendship that will change who he is as a person.

Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is a TV actor that plays a retarded quarterback. His mother (not in the film) is in a wheelchair and his psychiatrist father Gideon Largeman (Ian Holm) sees that it is Andrew’s fault. His father had him medicated on drugs for years seeing to believe it may help Andrew socially.

Andrew has been away from his family for a decade and returns home for his mother’s funeral. He meets a rambunctious girl named Sam (Natalie Portman); a girl he loves and someone who has problems of her own. Once he builds a relationship with Sam, he lays off his medications, sees what life itself is, and has more positivity in his life.

“Garden State” was a brilliant art-house film with its setting and cinematography. Braff made “Garden State” to be briefly based on his own childhood in New Jersey, along with his days as a struggling actor in Los Angeles before the success of the sitcom, “Scrubs.” When he did scenes with Natalie Portman he had brief romantic moments instead of a full love scene. He wanted sweet to be implied instead of visual.

Despite the film’s low-budget concept, “Garden-State” is captivating, lovely, and mesmerizing–and worth the one hour and forty-two minutes.

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