On the Big Board
|As debuts go, this is pretty auspicious. I hope Zach Braff has more left to say. Even better on second viewing, which is saying something.
|What right does Zach Braff have to make a film this good this early in his career? Comparisons to The Graduate are pretty apt.
|A perfect blend of caustic and mystic.
|It's like Zach Braff made a movie just for me.
|Stellar debut from writer/director/star Zach Braff
If you're unfamiliar with the name Zach Braff, perhaps you might better recognize the face behind the name if I call him Bambi, Newbie, Pumpkin, Shannon, Shirley, Ginger, Lassie, or Vanessa Janice Tiffany Amber Thiiieeesen. Yes, Scrubs' very own Dr. Dorian (AKA JD) is breaking into the world of movies by directing his very own full-length feature from a script that he wrote. And oh yeah, he stars, too.
The happy ending story for our up-and-coming artist is that after his movie premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, distribution rights were snapped up by Fox Searchlight and Miramax (the film's theatrical release will be a joint effort). Garden State is already scheduled for a limited release that may platform to a wider one if response is positive enough.
Described by some as "Beautiful Girls with Natalie Portman all grown up," Garden State, formerly entitled Large's Ark, centers around a young man named Andrew Largeman (Braff). He returns for the first time in ten years to his hometown for the funeral of his clinically depressed mother, where he finds himself reconnecting with the world he left behind. This trip also happens to overlap his decision to stop medicating with the powerful antidepressants he had been taking for years, and as such, he also begins to rediscover himself.
Much of Andrew's inspiration for self-discovery comes in the form of a girl named Sam (Portman), who he meets by chance. Like Andrew, she is also suffering from assorted maladies, but together they find spiritual growth, and our protagonist begins to regard himself in a more healthy manner. This leads him to rekindle some of his old emotional attachments, assisting Sam through her own psychological matters, and even confronting his psychologist father (Ian Holm).
Though the film has had a mixed critical response since its debut at Sundance, the buzz surrounding Braff's debut has still enjoyed a fairly high profile, particularly for such a small-budget piece. As a fan of Braff's work in Scrubs myself, I know it's solidly on my radar. (Kim Hollis/BOP)
Vital statistics for Garden State
Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Ian Holm
Method Man, Peter Sarsgaard, Jean Smart, Geoffrey Arend, Alex Burns, Aunjanue Ellis, Ato Essandoh, Jayne Houdyshell, Rob Liebman, Jim Parsons, Armando Riesco
|Click Here for Trailer
Awards page for Garden State
|Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture