Zach Braff is Andrew Largeman, a tv actor who has lived in LA and had little to do with his family for nine years. However, when his father calls to tell him that his mother has died unexpectedly, Andrew has to go back to New Jersey for the funeral. While there, he catches up with old friends, and more importantly meets a girl named Sam (Natalie Portman) who is quirky, cute and more alive and vital than Andrew can ever imagine he or his friends being.
While he is in New Jersey, trying to avoid spending time with his father (who is also his psychiatrist) and attempting to work out where he is headed in life, Andrew confronts some painful memories of his past, and is reminded that only by letting go of who we once were can we decide who we truly want to be. Meanwhile, Sam shows him that despite the obstacles people face, they can still live in the here and now, and have fun.
Ultimately, this is a film about redemption and love. Zach Braff is impressive and manages to shake off his JD character from ‘Scrubs’ very well. (He also wrote and directed the movie.) Natalie Portman is cute as a button, and Peter Sarsgaard is excellent as Andrew’s friend, the gravedigger Mark.
There were a lot less laughs than I thought there would be – this is not a comedy, although there are moments of gentle humour. But it’s a sweet film, with lots of touching moments and two main characters who you can’t help rooting for.
Year of release: 2004
Director: Zach Braff
Writer: Zach Braff
Main cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard