directed by Zach Braff
Zach Braff’s stab at writing, directing and leading a film prove to be an admirable success, as evidenced by the outstanding film, Garden State, in which Braff plays a struggling actor returning home after 9 years to attend his mother’s funeral. Avoiding his father (who is also his shrink), and reconnecting with some old friends doesn’t seem to do much good until Braff meets Sam (an extraordinary Natalie Portman), a chronic liar who just may be the thing he needs. Braff shows a flair for navigating the never-ending abyss, and his film is a gem that inspires through its earnestness. It is goofy, dramatic (sometimes too much so) and entirely too convenient at times, but Braff crafts a good film that I don’t begrudge him for in any way. It’s no classic, mind you, which is also what makes it great. A fleeting jewel, a comet. It’s not so amazing that you wonder how such Faulknerian genius came from some Jersey kid, but it is good enough to give you hope that you, a regular person, can craft a thing into existence that peers into that abyss, and gives it a wink.