Garden State by 'Pipsorcle'
Andrew Largeman's (Zack Braff) journey throughout "Garden State" seems to be a testament on the meaning of liberation. Going from his struggling acting life in Los Angeles to his hometown in New Jersey, where he witnesses his mother's funeral, Andrew is in the mist of confronting difficult issues. One of the biggest issues is coming to terms with his psychologist father (Ian Holm), whom he has distanced himself from for many years because he has put him on powerful antidepressants for most of his life. The reason for this I will not reveal but it has caused Andrew to feel as if his father has controlled his life in a way.
In showing how Andrew Largeman finds himself again, "Garden State" makes a good choice in putting him in every one of its scenes. Since this film is really about Largeman, because he is in every scene, we see a progression in his character as time goes on. At the beginning, we sense that Andrew feels rather numb and alienated but then as the film progresses, he becomes more energetic and liberated. This gradual change in his character is highlighted clearly in the cinematography, a key method in showing Andrew's psychological state.
For a directorial debut, I must say Zack Braff has given me a completely different impression than from his regular role in the "Scrubs" TV series. One might think that for a directorial debut coming from a TV actor would be uneven and at best, formulaic and uninspired. That's not the case here with "Garden State." Braff shows he knows how to handle directing and storytelling yet at the same time, showing a vision that clearly establishes himself as an auteur. Examples of this are the tense moments when Andrew is around his father. A lesser film would go for theatrics and end up being very talky in dialogue, but instead, Andrew and his father's moments together are more subtle. Whenever we see both of them together, they talk but when they talk, their relationship is forced....
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