A state not to miss | SummitDaily.com
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A state not to miss

Kimberly Nicoletti
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“Garden State” is as profound, strange and funny as “American Beauty,” only it portrays the quarter-life crisis that can happen around age 25.Andrew Largeman (Zack Braff) has been on lithium and antidepressants since he was 10. And since then, he hasn’t felt much of anything.When he returns home to New Jersey after a nine-year absence to attend his mother’s funeral, he begins to rediscover his true self – especially when he meets Sam (Natalie Portman), a spunky girl who spontaneously lies, then tells the truth out of guilt.

“Garden State” masterfully hits home on a variety of levels.Quirky characters and witty dialogue engage viewers early on and continue to deepen Largeman’s unfolding story. Each character adds to his awakening; the director wastes no scenes.The pace moves along quickly with a fertile garden of humorous situations and lines. But here’s the real beauty of the film: It manages to infuse humor into the search to live a conscious life – life complete with pain and joy.”We may not always be as happy as you always dreamed we’d be, but for once, let’s just allow ourselves to be whatever it is we are.” This comes from 25-year-old Largeman, whose father prescribed lithium for him to keep him happy.

“Garden State” not only addresses living life on life’s terms without numbing out on a daily basis, but also shows the imperfections of love.Largeman’s first realization of how much his mother loved him came as a child. Snot ran down his nose as he cried, and she offered her sleeve to blow his nose. Heartfelt details like this make “Garden State” work.As Largeman experiences another side of love – romantic love – he has to decide how to deal with the idea that he’s not ready for a relationship because he has a bunch of “stuff” to figure out.



“Garden State” isn’t your typical multiplex movie; it’s deep, intricate and at times, just plain weird. It’s also a film you can watch several times and still discover something new about the characters – and yourself.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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