Back when I was in 7th grade, I was on a long flight back from Italy, and considering I don’t really sleep on planes, I took advantage of the inflight movie system on the back of the seat in front of me. The movies had not changed from the way over, so I had to delve outside of my comfort zone and find a movie I had never seen before. One of those movies was Garden State, and it is a movie that has stuck with me ever since. 

I try to watch the movie at least once or twice a year. It is one of those movies that changes every time you see it. Sometimes you feel one way when it ends, another you feel a different way. 

Zach Braff, who has mainly only really done Scrubs, wrote, directed, and acted in this film, and it is easily his best work. He has made a few other directing attempts, but none have quite stood up against this one. 

It also stars Natalie Portman, and if you aren’t in love with her by the end of it then there is something wrong with her. She is quirky, cute, and just wonderful. We also have Jane Lynch and Jim Parsons in very small roles, and Peter Sarsgaard as the slimy friend. 

Another star in this movie is the soundtrack, featuring Coldplay, The Shins, and Simon and Garfunkel. Braff apparently sent out a copy of the soundtrack to the studios and actors when getting them to read the script. It is a phenomenal selection that accentuates the film extraordinarily. 

The movie is about Braff’s character, Andrew Largeman, who has struggled through his life as an actor in LA who was sent away for mental issues, resulting in him being sedated most of his life. He has to return home for his mother’s funeral, and has to deal with his father, played by Iam Holm, as well as people from his past. There he meets Natalie Portman, and it turns into something so much more. It is about forgiveness, the past, and moving forward. 

So, if you want to see a movie with a killer soundtrack, great performances, and an amazing directorial debut, check this movie out.