Garden State

Warning. I spoil a lot of the movie here, but that’s only because this is a collection of my thoughts on the movie a few hours after letting it sink in and after only one viewing.

I could see that this movie was one that was different tham most other movies. It’s pretty random at times and has some questionable content. However, when it comes down to what it was all about, I think perhaps a second or third viewing will clear things up.

What this movie, I think, is for, is people in their 20s, and I found this to be different from most other movies that I’ve seen. It’s definitely the only movie I have ever seen that was supposed to be that way. It’s about finding your path in life, and learning to make the next step.

Here’s an excerpt from Zach Braff’s Blog about Garden State:

«First and foremost I always hoped people would have a good laugh and hopefully empathize with the characters. But the fact that so many of you are relating to the themes and subject matter is so comforting to me, because for many years when I was feeling all these feelings, I felt incredibly alone; I couldn’t find many people who were “in it”… going through the mental puberty that your twenties can be. – (Or any time of your life that involves feeling long overdue for the next chapter of your life to begin.)

When I wrote Garden State, I was completely depressed, waiting tables and lonesome as I’ve ever been in my life. The script was a way for me to articulate what I was feeling; alone, isolated, “a dime a dozen” and homesick for a place that didn’t even exist. I guess one of the cool things about the success of Garden State is that those of you out there who are “in it” and feeling all these things, can take comfort in the fact that there are so many people commenting on this blog (including me) that can relate. And as lonely as you ever feel, you are not alone.»

A guy in his twenties, on prescription drugs because of something he accidentally did when he was nine, going home to find his friends haven’t changed. They’re still partying like they probably did in high school and college, and he seems to be on the outside of it, watching from outside of himself, and all of this movement is happening around him. He’s realizing that a lot of these people are wasting their lives away. He’s been on drugs his whole life, and none of the drug use at the party really seems to effect him. He seems bored by it.

As the movie goes on, we learn about his life, piece by piece. The things that he missed out on, and things that he’s been through, and with each new revelation, we learn that there are many things that we have to be thankful for in our own lives. That life has it’s hardships. And that life finds a way to move on through it all.

It took meeting someone else with problems for him to realize that he was not alone with his problems. He also had one friend bring him on a journey to get one small thing. At least to me, that showed that this one friend knows what is important to him, and will be there for him. This is the friend that will probably either be the first to really grow up, or is more grown up than he lets on, and is satisfied with his life at this point.

The girl that he meets is confused about the world, she’s a pathelogical liar, and I guess she feels like she’s got some control over what people think about her when she makes stuff up. She claims that she doesn’t believe in God, but being a pathelogical liar, we don’t know when she is lying and when she isn’t.

The movie had a lot of good lines in it, and is basically, like Joe said, about finding where you fit in, and taking some control of yourself. The lead character is Jewish, but doesn’t practice it. He also found himself numb to the world because of the prescription drugs. It was only after he stopped taking them, that he realized that there was nothing wrong with him. He also hadn’t cried in about 15 years, and when all is said and done, he finds a piece of what really matters in life. That one thing that conquers all. Something that’s been a part of most or all of the biggest or best movies this year. It’s a part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Village. Spider-Man 2 and, of course, The Passion of the Christ. He finds love. And while everything else in his life is going insane, that is the first sane decision in what we can only hope is the first in a series of great decisions and changes.

The music that plays over the final scenes is “Let Go” by Frou Frou. What it’s telling us about his decision is that he’s letting go of what is holding him back, and jumping in full throttle into the future. He’s accepting what life is giving him because he knows that is all that he’s got. So why not?

And the shot of the three major characters yelling into a chasm just shows that sometimes it’s good to yell, that you need to scream to let go of a lot of tension sometimes. I don’t know where I was going to go with this, the words seemed to escape me. See the poster with this image here: http://www.sweetpaul.com/movies/2004/gardenstate.php

All in all, I’ll probably buy it because it’s quirky and different. For the same reason that I’m getting “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Maybe it isn’t top ten material but it might end up on my top ten for 2004, based on what I have and will be seeing this year.