Garden State

Tonight: Garden State, an Independent Spirit Award winner (Best First Feature), starring Zach Braff (who also wrote and directed it), Natalie Portman, and Sir Ian Holm.

Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a struggling actor and waiter in a Vietnamese restaurant, who has to return to his hometown in New Jersey to attend the funeral of his mother. While in New Jersey, he meets Sam, an extremely eccentric cutie. The strong ensemble cast includes Ian Holm, who plays Largeman's father, a psychiatrist who has kept him medicated since an accident left Andrew's late mother paralyzed. The provinciality of the locals is revealed and we get a glimpse into the character flaws, motivations, and strangeness of everyone.

The script is well-written, funny, and excellently shot. Strange plot twists lead us to a few unexpected places. This was a solid effort by a budding filmmaker. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My grade: B.

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