Garden State (Braff, 2004)

Garden State

A wistful, melancholic tone is rendered by wispy camera movements, delicate music, and a wide angle lens. Though the film is well structured and shot, it doesn’t offer much more than a pandering for salvation that never truly transpires. Zack Braff promotes a sincere but somewhat unintelligent view of the effects of love, medicine, and psychology. Effectively, Garden State tells the story of a man who rids himself of complacence by dropping the medication which prevents impulsive and erratic behaviour, who somehow escapes withdrawal symptoms, falls in love ever too quickly, and ultimately carries out an especially impulsive and erratic action. I won’t begin to analyze how this contradicts some of the themes of the film or its values—these things are obvious—but I will suggest that these elements are just used as a vehicle for a romantic journey. As such, Braff suggests that we deny these misdeeds by honing in on the love story, the wistfulness, and the desire to overcome fear through love which the film so effortlessly brings to the screen.

68/100 – Decent.

3 Stars


About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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