Movie Review- A Death in the Gunj

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A Death in the Gunj has created a lot of buzz since its release. To everyone hearing about this film now, it was actually released back in September 2016 for film festivals. It was screened at a film festival in Indian Habitat Centre (IHC) in May this year even before its release. So this film has been around for a long time, and after four months of trying (since February) to get a copy somehow, I finally saw it in the hall. And it was well worth the wait, almost!
A Death in the Gunj is by no stretch of imagination the best film of this year, but it’s still a fantastic one. It is a drama/thriller film, which in my opinion is one of the most mismatched combination of genres, along with Horror/Comedy (I don’t who even does this. I and a few friends of mine stumbled onto this on a night stay.).
A Death in the Gunj is more Drama than thriller. A Death in the Gunj has a huge cast of characters: Shutu (Vikrant Massey) as the sad, troubled (for the lack of a better word) cousin of Bonni (Tillotama Shome), who is the wife of Nandan/Nandu (Gulshan Devaiah), and their child is Tani (Arya Sharma). Then, there are O.P. Bakshi (Om Puri) and Anupama Bakshi (Tanuja) as the parents of Nandu, whose house serves as the location for the film. Then there are friends of Nandu and Bonnie: Mitali (Mimi) (Kalki Koechlin), the weird and sultry friend, VIkram (Ranvir Shorey), the asshole (as in you’ll find him to be an asshole, but most of the characters think he isn’t), and Brian (Jim Sarbh), the friend whom we never get to know. Then there are the comic helpers of the Bakshi’s, Manjiya and I forgot the name of his wife. Apparently no site mentions these characters’ full names or the actors. So they are either not given enough importance, or are not actors. Which feels wrong, because their name should have been mentioned.
The film pays a lot of attention to the characters and the interaction between the characters. It takes its start sloooooooowwwww. I think what Konkana Sensharma did was flesh out the characters by their interactions. For eg- You get to know about one side of Shutu when he is with Tani, and another side when he is with Nandu, and another when he is with Mimi. So, you never truly explicitly get to know the characters well, or what the others feel about everyone, because the relation between Bonni and Shutu isn’t very well fleshed out, and the relation between Nandu and his father only stays at the surface. Or why nobody every questions or says anything about Vikram being an asshole (God he is such an asshole, all throughout. So is Nandu as well, so I guess that’s why they never realise). While I do admire what Konkana Sensharma has done, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot missing from the characters. The characters, except Shutu are largely 1D, especially Brian who is 0.5D.
The acting though, by all of them was superb! I came to the acting portion of the movie only two hours after the movie. It felt strange, because I never noticed the acting, even while watching the movie; which isn’t something I do. That’s when it hit me. They were all (the cast) so natural and so lifelike, with their weird mannerisms, stupid antics and their spot on odd 1970’s hairstyles (The movie is set in 1979 BTW), that you never realise any of them is acting.
One thing I did while watching the movie was guess who would die in the film. It says a DEATH, why not have some extra fun? I actually tried to make up reasons why some character or the other would die and how. Also, all of you will get a warning about Paranormal activities at the start of the film. Let me just inform you that there is very minimal paranormal stuff going on. The disclaimer makes it look more serious than it actually is and take it with a pinch of salt. That disclaimer really distracted me, because I kept on thinking that there would be some paranormal element, which there wasn’t. Thank you Pehlaj Nehani.
Konkana Sensharma has overall done an amazing job at direction. I think this is one of the best directorial debuts I’ve seen in my life. I wouldn’t be surprised that she receives tons of nominations for her work here. The pacing of the film is a bit slow however. It takes a lot of time to set the characters up properly, and there are some scenes here and there which could have been trimmed, and shorten the movie up by five minutes or so. It doesn’t seem like much, but those five minutes could make the movie crisper. The cinematography is outstanding as well, to say the least. There were two shots of McCluskieganj which were so beautiful, like right out of a game or a Japanese movie. The trees, the terrain around them, all seen through the mist from an overview. Phenomenal. That is the most beautiful scene I have ever seen in a film.
Even if A Death in the Gunj hadn’t been a debut, it would’ve still been a phenomenal film. There isn’t much to hate on in this film, though a lot to love. It’s a natural film, like the flow of the ocean with some low tides and a high tide.

Rating-3/4

Movie Review- Meri Pyaari Bindu

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It’s been a week since I saw the movie, and I can’t get through the title without a huge smile creeping on my face. I remember the scenes, the ending especially, and the cute faces of Ayushman Khurana and Parineeti Chopra’s characters and looking at them happy, I feel happy. The ending ingrained in my mind is such an amazing source of never ending smiles.
Meri Pyaari Bindu (Loosely translated to My Lovely Bindu) is a combination of (500) Days of Summer, Forrest Gump and Paper Towns. Sort of. For the initiated, the people who have seen these three films, will notice a lot of plot similarities with them. Those who haven’t, you’ll have it in reverse. The one central narrative element which all four movies share, is that the story is focused on the male lead; his character, journey and emotions. The female lead is explored only as much as she impacts the male lead. We don’t delve into her thought process or the nuances of her thinking.
In our story, the male lead is Abhimanyu “Bubla” Roy, who is deeply and madly in love with Bindu Shankarnarayanan, his neighbour since 1983, when he was four.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is a fantastic film. It nails every aspect of film-making, direction, characterization, acting, songs, plot lines and dialogues! Damn.
It is so immensely engrossing. I have particular habit. In the movie hall, if somebody is speaking, or a phone seven rows in front of me turns on with a white scree, I get distracted and spend 10-20 second on the distraction. Fifteen minutes in, I was so into the film, I could care less what anybody was doing or speaking or thinking. I was laughing almost half the time. It became tough not to laugh at almost every scene. At one point, my mom had to tell me to laugh quietly. I remember hitting my knees on two occasions. The comedy is subtle and has you out of your wits.
At the same time, it has a great mix of emotional, which reveals the characters beyond their comedy.
Honestly, if any one of you came up to me and asked me to tell you a scene by scene synopsis of the movie, I would fail. There is just no chance. I was so hooked onto the movie, so engrossed in the scenes, I forgot to watch them; I was experiencing them. Like I said, you get so lost in the movie, you go from scene to scene, remembering the essence but forgetting what it was about. You can barely sequence the. That was about 70% of the first half and 50% of the second half for me.
Meri Pyaari Bindu is insanely artistic. I don’t think I can put it in terms which everyone will agree to; so I’ll put them in terms I relate to. It has so many elements which go beyond the surface. The scenes use nostalgia, often
accompanied by music to familiarise us with the characters. It uses metaphors to speak to us in scenes. The scenes have a deep magic embedded in them, which makes them feel they are scenes which happen only in movies, when they just as easily do in real life. The dialogues often have meaning beyond the surface, which can only be caught by those who pay attention to the film.
This is another reason why I love the film, because all these little little things add so much layer and depth to the film and make it a rewarding experience.
The movie honestly stands on its writing. The movie tackles a concept so well-trodden (the best inarguably by (500) Days of Summer), it’s impossible to set a foundation there because it’s been so overused, the building might crumble under its own weight. Every scene of the movie risks the foundation. Even if one scene were to miss its mark, it would ruin the remaining movie and nullify whatever has been done.
Plus, Ayushman Khurana and Parineeti Chopra had their characters down to the dot. Ayushman Khurana looked damn cute (and innocent and charming) in his portrayal of the silent, straight, supportive, intense, filled with nostalgia Abhimanyu “Bubla” Roy. Parineeti Chopra’s Bindu Shankarnarayanan is random, volatile and smart. Her character is as crazy and unpredictable as is Ayushman Khurana’s stable and silent. And Parineeti Chopra’s character does it all: be crazy, happy, cry silently and loudly, be sad, be depressed, be edgy and happy (the one where you’re satisfied with life and all it has to offer).
There is one particular complaint I have with the film. Everyone who still hasn’t watched the movie might want to skip it and get to the next paragraph. Early on in the film, the concept of a tape is introduced; wherein Abhimanyu and Bindu save 10 songs each on side of a cassette. These are the ten songs which are the most important in their life. We are only ever introduced to one song, the remaining 19 are never seen. I would have loved had all the songs been used, or at least a few more or the concept been revised to fewer songs so they could have been used.
Like I said, Meri Pyaari Bindu is a fantastic movie, one which deserves multiple re watches. Though beware, its comedy, artistic scenes and unconventional style don’t make it everyone’s cup of tea. It is certainly not a bad film by any stretch, but requires some acceptance of unconventional styles for getting into.
Rating-3.5/4

The backlash surrounding La La Land

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Ever since La La Land swept all seven of its nominations at the Golden Globes, and received 14 nominations at the Oscars, La La Land, like various movies before which have received a lot of love and attention and been loved by people and critics and has been perceived as magic; has been hit with what those movies had been hit with before. Tons and tons of heavily opinionated, biased and senseless backlash by people who nit-pick every aspect of it to prove it is not perfect.
I read eight-nine articles about why La La Land’s win at the Oscars will be a disaster for the Oscars; how La La Land shouldn’t win because its characters are narcissistic and sacrifice love for self-interest (This is an article by the Guardian. We’ll get to dissenting on it in the next paragraph); Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were only chosen to sell tickets; Mia and Seb’s break up was not clearly explained; HOW SEB BLASTED MUSIC INSTEAD OF RINGING THE DOOR BELL FOR MIA AND HOW IT WOULD HAVE DISTURBED THE NEIGHBOURS(Again the Guardian article. Is this your reason for why La La Land shouldn’t win the Oscars? Because the movie uses artistic freedom and doesn’t care about neighbours? Wow!); and how La La Land’s clean sweep at the Oscars meant the other movies didn’t get recognition. There were sensible articles here and there as to why La La Land was is not that good a movie. They were well articulated, not biased and I loved the aspects of La La Land they put in as to why they didn’t like it (such as this article by The Huffington Post-Let The ‘La La Land’ Backlash Begin).
I’ll start off with this particularly sorry excuse for an article by the Guardian by the Big Picture- La La Land’s inevitable Oscars win is a disaster for Hollywood – and for us. This is the type of article you write when something is cool and you want to join the train hating it. It is extremely biased, opinionated and derides La La Land based only on the author’s view rather than an analysis of the film’s merits and demerits. The author, like so many people, have the issue of:
1) “For some, the narrative sags and the plot fails to convince. Just why do Seb and Mia break up? A temporary separation doesn’t have to destroy a relationship.”
2) Then there is the counterfactual ending. What is it supposed to mean? That they should have stayed together? When they could have, but didn’t and appeared content with the alternative paths they had chosen?
Both the points have the same answer: USE YOUR IMAGINATION. You know, that thing we had as children. Just because we’re grown up doesn’t mean we have to stop using it. It’s up to us to wonder why Seb and Mia break up. It’s up to us to wonder why they leave each other the moment they need to part ways. The ending, the author themselves has proved his folly and those of various others like him by asking “What is it supposed to mean?” It means whatever the hell you want it to mean. The story, the director can’t spoon-feed you everything. Some things you must interpret on your own. That’s what art is. It’s what you feel about it. You’re fighting over what the ending was supposed to mean. It’s up to you, you unimaginative idiot.
Then, the author had the issue:
“Of course, its characters are humourless and insensitive: narcissists usually are. They can’t be rich and complex, because self-obsessives aren’t.”
WOWWWWW!!! So much generalisation! Is that what you use to say that the movie is not good? That its characters are narcissists. Are you a phycologist? Can I see the degree which allows you to make such a diagnosis? No? Then I’m sorry, your diagnosis cannot be accepted. Lastly, one more point:

“When Seb arrives to pick up Mia, he blasts his car horn rather than ringing the doorbell. Never mind the neighbours; it’s only Seb who counts. When Mia is looking for Seb in a cinema audience, she stands in front of the screen and blocks the picture. Of course. She matters; the other filmgoers don’t.”

Oh hell! Oh my God! Does somebody have an inferiority complex? (I’m not a psychologist, so I can only ask, not label). Seriously? Is that what you think is wrong in a movie? WOW! So much nit-picking. The rest of the article is all talks about how the movie has no soul, how it is self-indulgent and just like today’s people and that’s why we like it and all opinions, none of which are in anyway connected to the film’s merits. The author feels that the film doesn’t celebrate love and life. I would like to tell the author that this is an opinion; I for one think it does celebrate love and life. Opinions clash, but just because your feelings for a movie are negative, doesn’t mean the movie is bad. They are your opinions; not facts.

Another article I read recently on MTV NEWS was that:

“If you’re gonna make a film about an artist staying true to the roots of jazz against the odds and against modern reinventions of the genre (from white musicians like, say, Mayer Hawthorne), you’d think that artist would be black.”

I don’t get this. Had the movie been less successful, would people have raised such a question? Wouldn’t the movie been heralded as a fine attempt to re-invigorate the Jazz genre. The author was so butt hurt over the fact that the lead actors were White and there weren’t people of colour. I would like to point out the fact that nobody did such a thing for “Swiss Army Man”, which only had two white actors for almost the entire movie. Why not the push for one of the leads being played a colour actor? Again, the author said:
“La La Land opens with a stunning and visually masterful dance sequence sung by an incredibly diverse group of Los Angeles denizens…….. (Skipped a few lines)…… Those people of colour who gave it their all in the opening sequence, perhaps to remind Oscar voters of that Hamilton musical they love so much, are quickly whisked away so the Caucasian sing-along can begin.”
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE STOP MAKING ASSUMPTIONS ON YOUR PART AND SPWEING THEM OUT AS BEING THE TRUTH. This is bullshit. The author assumes this is the aim, rather than having a great opening sequence; and then lays their criticism on what they think is the aim. Wow!

Washington Post in their article-  Your guide to the ‘La La Land’ backlash said:

“the Guardian deems Sebastian “every bad date you ever had,” adding he’s “a jazz snob, the kind whose response to a woman saying she ‘hates jazz’ is to tell her she’s wrong and take her to a jazz club on every date thereafter. He is also, as a side note, often an actual jerk.”

Oh god! Oh my god! Is that why this movie should be crucified? Man, is this criticism? Really? That’s like saying, fuck. I don’t even know anymore. All this anger has me so goddamn tired.

Refinery had another horrible/ terrible article which goes over all the same notes as every other article on the net about La La Land backlash. I’m tired of reading that people hate it for all the wrong reason. All the reasons people hate it for are caused because of nit-picking. Seriously, I should hate this movie because Seb is an asshole? Because the movie doesn’t explain why Sab and Mia broke up?
I will not stand by and let people tarnish the image of La La Land and throw it down for stupid reasons. I loved La La Land. I loved every second of that movie. I will defend it where people will wrong it for wrong reasons. Where the criticism is just, we all accept it. But these opinionated articles, heavily biased articles I will fight against. Because the only thing they do is make a movie look bad for all the wrong reason; all of which are not based on the movie’s merits or demerits.


I have never been more infuriated or angry while venting out my feelings. All these articles, and so many more are detrimental to all of us. Because they stand as metaphors to the fact that at times, we simply can’t accept what is good and we must nitpick and break it down and prove it is bad.
This has been done for so many movies before this. Since La La Land is one of the most amazing and magical movies I have seen, all these articles pushed me into action and fight back for it.

Movie Review-Jolly LLB 2

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When Jolly LLB was released, it won over a lot of hearts and became a moderate success at the box office. It is a simple film with simple elements. A plain and simple story, simple and honest characters, most importantly, an everyday man everyone could relate to. A man who fought and defeated a big shot lawyer, though also because his passion pulled the judge in his favour.
Come the sequel, and the straight as a needle character is changed at the start. Jagdishwar Mishra, urf Jolly (Akshay Kumar) comes off as more of a player. He plays the system and people’s emotions to get his way. It is only when the plot thickens and he is way out of his depth do we get to see the straight common man being troubled by those with more power.
The story is full of twists and turns and bureaucracy and greed in the echelons of the police. Jolly LLB 2 is more majestic, cinematic and dramatic than the original. While the original was a simple steady river, LLB 2 is a raging river which isn’t afraid to pull big waves of dramatic scenes. While the sequel loses the simple charm of the original, it creates a position of its own.
Jolly LLB 2 could be termed as a bad sequel, because it doesn’t adhere to the style which made the first movie so great; but never a bad movie. As a movie, it is terrific. Funnily enough though, even though LLB 2 doesn’t follow the spirit of the original movie, it does have all the twists and turns of the first. You could put the stories of the two movie side by side and see no difference. The only difference comes across in direction and conflict and its magnitude.
In our talks and hypes of Kaabil and Raees, we never gave Jolly LLB 2 all that much attention. Ironically, it is Jolly LLB 2 which is the best of the lot and more deserving of our attention.
LLB 2 is formulaic and clichéd, but it never seems so. It checks all the points: Good guy is a good guy, but circumstances force him to do something bad, that bad thing has repercussions, which force good guy to do good things which involve him making a lot of sacrifices, essentially cementing that he is good. Also, doing the good thing gets the good guy into life threatening situations, but he doesn’t ever give up. He goes through a lot of hardships, but he never gives up and eventually good prevails!!! WOOOHHOOOO!!!!
Know what the funny thing is? Till I sat down to write this review, I hadn’t notices much of these points as well. Till I didn’t give it enough thought and stripped the story down, I never caught onto the formula. That’s how well executed Jolly LLB 2 is.
Akshay Kumar won my heart with this rile. This is undeniably Akshay Kumar’s finest role in the past couple of years. He pulls it off to perfection with his role as Jagdishwar Mishra urf Jolly. Akshay Kumar is the embodiment of the common man we all can relate to.
Like all stories, this story requires a villain too. This time around, the villains are pretty terrible people. Much more so than the now looking like a nice person Boman Irani and his client. Annu Kappor plays Pramod Mathur, the bad judge defending his guilty client for so many things, you actually lose track. And his client, dirty, terrible, heinous cop Suryaveer Singh, played by Kumud Mishra.
There are plenty of cameos/short roles in LLB2. They have little parts all throughout the film; some at the beginning, some at the end, some intermittent throughout the film. Except for the characters I’ve mentioned and one more I’m about to; all the roles have little screen time and massive impact.
A lot of Jolly LLB’s heart was Saurabh Shukla, as Justice Sunderlal Tripathi. Just like the many plot points the sequel kept, it also kept this element from the original. I’m sure glad they did. As will everyone who enjoyed the first movie will. Saurabh Shukla is once again the buffoon but serious judge who has an intuition when things are going wrong and ominous He is the reason both the Jolly films were Jolly(Wink Wink. Yes, that’s a pun). His character is a moving force for the story as well as the unbiased opinion of a person who has no idea what is going on, looking at it from the outside and judging based solely on the facts.
Jolly LLB 2 strays from the original in the first half a lot. The first half is busy in building up Jolly’s character which is not a bad things. But it does have a lot of melodrama and stupid dance sequences. For those with Bollywood Masala-intolerance, the first half will feel like a drag.
The second half picks up pace; with the third act kicking it up several notches all at once. It becomes intense, fast and hitting; all the things you want in a film. It returns to the intense courtroom action of the original (though more intense), the verbal banter between the lawyers, their palpable animosity, desperation for comebacks, the quick comebacks and the lies.
Jolly LLB 2 is the first good Bollywood movie this year. It easily has a shot at Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actors (Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla), and Best Dialogue. Jolly LLB 2 is amazing and I recommend it to everyone.

Rating-3.5/4

Three Days, Three Posts

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Three Days, Three Posts!!!!!!!
Wooohooo!!!! I’ve gotten a bit of a creative rush after watching “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “La La Land” on consecutive days and I’ll be posting reviews for the three movies I recently saw in the hall on three consecutive days. “Kahaani 2”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “La La Land”.
I’ll be starting off with the review of “Kahanni 2” today, followed by “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” tomorrow and ending it off with “La La Land” the day after!

This if going to be awesome!!!!
Happy Reading!

Movie To Watch-A Brilliant Young Mind

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Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis

A Beautiful Young Mind is a beautiful, beautiful movie. It’s a movie which I can switch on any time I want and still feel all the emotions the first time around as strong and feel for the characters just as much.
A Beautiful Young Mind was originally a documentary “Beautiful Young Minds” which portrayed the selection process of the UK for the International Maths Olympiad (IMO); most of the children selected had some form of Autism, which the documentary links to increased mathematical ability. Then, seven years after the documentary, in 2014, Morgan Matthews, the director of the documentary put his head to make this movie, A Beautiful Young Mind, also called “X+Y” in the UK.
A Beautiful Young Mind follows one of the students in the documentary, Daniel Lightwing, who is named as Nathan Ellis in the movie and played by Asa Butterfield.
While the premise of A Beautiful Young Mind comes from maths, its true message is coping. Nathan Ellis coping with his autism and the sudden loss of his father in an accident. His mother, Julie Ellis, portrayed by Sally Hawkins, who must cope with her son’s autism, single handedly and the loss of her husband. Then the two of them having to cope with each other, with their relationship solely based on each other’s exterior, never truly going through the surface and understanding each other. Leading to Nathan getting angry over at times silly things, such as his food not being perfect and blaming his mother, unable to see her coping to raise him single handedly; Sally on the other hand at times losing her handle over her son’s outbursts, but primarily being supportive to him all throughout. Even though she cares for her son, and her son does love her, there is a gap between the two, caused by the death of Nathan’s father which Sally desperately tries to overcome.
As much as the movie is about Nathan’s autistic life and his confusions and problems, socially and emotionally, and his abilities, it is as much about a parent and their struggles to care for their child and give them the best, no matter what. It’s also about Julie, who is a single mother caring for her child the best she can, and trying and trying desperately to get through to her child; never giving up, like all parents.

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Sally Hawkins as Julie Ellis

Then there is Martin Humphreys, Nathan’s Maths teacher who teaches him maths and trains him. There is his story about coping with his disability and marijuana addiction and pill addiction and his struggles at coping with his life. And there is Zhang Mei, a Chinese girl Nathan meets at camp and falls in love with. How she must cope with the expectations her family has placed on her to be good at mathematics.
As much as the movie focuses on Nathan, it delves into these characters and shows that life is tough for everybody, not just a person who is autistic or who has a disability. And we always want the best or the people we love, and when somebody loves us, it adds values to us (I didn’t create this line. It’s from the movie and its delivery is so superb and brilliant, you feel it hit you.).
There is so much this movie teaches you about life. There is poignancy in this movie, from being singular, simple but at the same time uncompromising and avoiding clichéd tropes to make the characters relatable. This is a brilliant movie *Wink*.

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Humphrey’s as the teacher!!! I did love his acting and character


This is a terrific movie. So many people going on about so many movies but rarely anybody I talk to has seen this movie; and more often than not, they always confuse this with A Beautiful Mind(I, with utmost frevor and bottom of my heart hatred hate them :D). This is a must watch movie, no matter how kiddish or simple it may seem.

Happy Reading!

Movie to Watch-Garden State

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For starters, the state of New Jersey, USA is called as The Garden State. The meaning of Garden State baffled me for four months till I saw a billboard in Forrest Gump which said, “Welcome to New Jersey, The Garden State”.
Garden State is awesome, speaking as bluntly as is possible.

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Garden State revolves around Andrew Largeman, an actor who is drifting in life. He has no direction in life per say, primarily, my guess is due to the medications he is on which make him completely fucking numb, emotionally.
The character of Andrew Largeman, of having no general direction in life and not being able to feel his emotions is such a relatable one. To everyone in college, drifting in between classes to what they really want to do. To what is the meaning of life, or not being as happy as they thought they would be, or simply being unable to give their emotions enough time or process them. The issue of life just going on and on and you not even hating it. You nothing it.
The movie starts with Andrew Largeman going back to his hometown in New Jersey, the Garden State. Andrew lives in Los Angeles, where he is an actor who had a big role in a movie a while back but has been still since then. Coupled with the fact he is on meds, he aims through life with no aim and no strength for to launch a struggle against it. Back in his hometown, due to some impulse, a deep hidden wish, Andrew stops taking his medications. In that time, when he is off his medication, he lives. He makes new friends, drives his grandfather’s old scooter which has a basket sort of at the side (I’m forgetting the proper term). Meets old friends, and fixes his relationship with his father. But most of all, Andrew realises that his life is his, and how for his life to be amazing, he has to take charge of it.

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Despite being low budget, Garden State makes no compromises on the beauty of the scenes.

Garden State is Andrew Largeman’s journey of becoming better. It’s a story about just a man, but one which resonates with almost anyone in the 18-25 age group who will watch it. In Andrew Largeman or any of the other characters in the movie, there’s a good chance you’ll see yourself or somebody you know.
Zach Braff, ladies and gentlemen, is quite possibly the true star of Garden State. He is the lead actor, the director, and writer and also designed the soundtrack for the movie, which eventually went on to win a Grammy.
There is a stamp of authority and realism on this movie. I believe it’s because Zach Braff has himself stated he based the movie on his own experiences while drifting in life when he was in his mid-twenties.
Zach Braff has done an amazing job in all the departments. He transcends the movie to being life like. The life of a man in motion, but with awesome background music, especially The Shins. The Shins stole my heart with “New Slang” and Coldplay and Frou Frou mad me fall for them with their well-timed songs. I was jealous of Andrew Largeman for having such great background songs. I’m pretty sure other people will be too. Which speaks volumes about us. Normal sane people jealous of an emotionally numb out of work actor for having great background music. Can’t have everything, disappointingly.
New Slang was one of the stars of this movie. Every person I’ve recommended this movie to has most often fallen in love with sex things: Andrew Largeman, Natalie Portman’s acting, the screaming scene (Yes, there is one. And it is one of the best I’ve seen), the dialogues and vocal interplay, Zach Braff and the soundtrack, especially New Slang by The Shins. I still listen to New Slang at times, in the summer morning when the sun is not too harsh and the air is still not full of heat. New Slang is an amazing song. It will change your life.

 

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~The Screaming Scene

Zach Braff’s acting as Andrew Largeman is top notch. He shows a straight face at the start of the movie in every situation. As the movie progresses, he starts showing more and more emotion. And finally, the end of the movie is his return to the land of the emotionally sane, if that’s a thing. Zach Braff’s technique was impeccable. It didn’t feel too abrupt or stagnant. It was just right. Smooth.
Then there are Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm, the three most important side characters in my opinion.
Natalie Portman plays Samantha “Sam”, the eventual love of Andrew Largeman. Andrew meets Sam at a clinic and Sam, being a pathological liar herself, hits it off with Andrew. Sam and Andrew have their moments, showing us how broken they are, and how it doesn’t matter even a little bit.

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Getting the gang together!

Peter Sarsgaard, of Jarhead fame, plays Mark. An old childhood friend of Andrew. He works as a grave digger, where he often steals the jewellery decorating the dead. On first impressions, Mark comes off as a wheezy, get high, do all drugs. Get wasted, fuck life, and fuck emotions kind of a guy. But there is depth in him there. Mark’s character was riveting as well, with all his oddities. Peter Sarsgaard played Mark perfectly.
Ian Holm plays Andrew Largeman’s father, Gideon Largeman; also, his doctor. Gideon has always prescribed the medicine for his son Andrew, and like every parent, wanted the best for his son and himself. This has driven him to the point of obsessing over making his family happy. To go back to a time nobody even remembers.

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Ian Holm as Gideon.

The characters are the genius of the script. There is Andrew Largeman and these three, but there are also some very very side characters who give us light into some part of Andrew Largeman’s life or some wisdom.
In every movie, the lead characters has good depth and fleshing, it’s a must. But a great movie has great side characters as well, with their own side stories and fleshing out. Their own pains, travails, hurts and what not.
I’m just getting warmed up here. There is still so much more to tell all of you. So many more beautiful scenes, so many more laughs and ideologies. Garden State is truly one of the most under-rated and fantastic movies I have ever seen in my life. I could go on and on and on and on about how I’ve seen it three more times since the first time about two and a half years ago and how I’ve rewatched it in bits and pieces, here and there about over a hundred times. Or how I recommend this movie to everybody or how it has place in my Top 10 movies list (which is under construction, as always). Like Star Wars or Good Will Hunting or Up in The Air or Piku or Dil Dhadakne DO or Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, I could talk about this movie till the wee hours of the morning, till the sunlight is not as harsh. Then I would play New Slang.


Garden State! The one and only! Garden State is one of the most under-appreciated movies of all time. Most people I talk to have never seen this movie. Hell, most don’t even know it exists.

Garden State is a must watch, especially or the 18-25, like I’ve written in the article itself. Garden State is a gem of a movie which works on so many goddamn levels. It’s easy to brush aside a movie like Garden State thinking it won’t be amazing, but it’s movies like these which make get you. Like Half Nelson. Another amazing movie, starring Ryan Gosling in one of the finest movies he has ever acted in. These movies deserve to be seen so many times, because they are just that good!