Oscar Ritual 2005 : GARDEN STATE (rental)
There are movies that we enjoy, that might make us laugh, might make us cry, and sometimes even touch us in a way we didn’t expect. And then there are movies that reach deep down into the very core, scraping away surface grime and forcing us to evaluate what’s buried underneath. For me, Garden State is that kind of film. Funny, moving, profound. More than I can even put into words. And genuine, if nothing else.
I have no experience with Zach Braff; I do not watch his television work, I have not seen a single film in which he is featured. And yet I’m drawn to him. Upon simply hearing the critical buzz over Garden State, I became completely enamoured. So watching this film, I felt much like I was connecting with a friend. And the film itself felt like a long-treasured heirloom. I can say with certainty that I will revisit this film again and again and again. It feels relevant and necessary.
I’m most impressed with the acting. Peter Sarsgaard, Natalie Portman, Braff—all astound me, even with Sarsgaard in an unexpected role. The emotions they convey, this journey they inhabit, worked their way into my soul throughout the hour-and-a-half so that once it found its conclusion, I was spent and elated at the same time. I can’t even recall the last time a film had such an effect upon me. And I never dreamed that this particular film would be the next one.
With an eye to the Oscars, I would be incredibly disappointed if Garden State (and in particular, Zach Braff) did not receive its share of accolades. No other film of last year deserves it more. For pure story, for its heart, this movie is the best of all of them. And we, as moviegoers, get to see so few films of this caliber that I would hate seeing Garden State go unnoticed. For when that occurs, it closes doors to future films of this type, of this depth. And that would be the worst influence imaginable for a film such as this.