Garden State, starring Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, is absolutely, hands-down, one of my go-to films. (Ask friends or family members, and they will surely tell you that I’ve seen this movie too many times to count.) The soundtrack is pivotal, the narrative is refreshing and quirky and deep, and the protagonist’s growth throughout the story is commendable. We meet an emotionally detached individual (Andrew), who’s been on psychiatric medication for most of his life, robotically going through the motions. Enter Sam. She becomes a catalyst who ignites a spark, inspiring Andrew to wake up and to start really living.
Here are some selected quotes from the movie that have always resonated.
Andrew: What are you listening to?
Sam: The Shins. You gotta hear this one song, it will change your life, I swear.
I’m in no position to comment on whether you should stay on the meds or not since I don’t know your story, but my opinion, since you’re paying for it, is that, yeah, those drugs may help you as a means to an end, but sooner or later, if you’re not in some form of therapy, whatever’s going on in your mind will find a way to peek its little head out of the water. Dr. Cohen
Dr. Cohen: Are you alright? Andrew: Yeah. Dr. Cohen: Yeah, you’re alright. You’re alive.
Do you know what I do when I feel completely unoriginal? I make a noise, or I do something that no one has ever done before. And then I can feel unique again, even if it’s only for a second. Sam
Andrew: Why are you crying? Sam: It’s just so sad. It’s like real life tragedy or something.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to seem a whole lot longer than you’d like….What do you do? You laugh, you know. I’m not saying I don’t cry, but in-between, I laugh. Sam
You’re in it right now, aren’t you? My mom always says that when she can see I’m working something out in my head, she’s like ‘you’re in it right now.’ And I’m looking at you, and you’re telling me this story…you’re definitely in it right now. Sam
I like you. So there’s that. I guess I have that. Andrew
This necklace reminds me of a really random memory of my mother. I was a little kid, and I was crying for one reason or another. She was just like, you know, cradling me and rocking me back and forth. And I can remember seeing the little balls on this thing floating back and forth. And there was snot dripping down my nose. And she gave me her sleeve, and she told me to blow my nose into it. And I remember thinking even as a little kid, like…this is love. This is love. Andrew
Andrew: Fuck, this hurts so much. Sam: Yeah, I know. But that is life. If nothing else, that’s life, you know. It’s real. Sometimes it fucking hurts. But it’s sort of all we have.
When I’m with you, I feel so safe. Like I’m home. Andrew