Garden State is a movie focuses on a young man named Andrew (played by Zach Braff) who goes home to New Jersey, after being away for nine years, for his mother’s funeral. He is an actor in California now but not at all happy. He describes himself as being numb. He doesn’t experience any joy and is just going through the motions. His trip home is a myriad of thoughts and feelings. He hasn’t seen his parents in the whole nine years and the only thing to bring him home is a death.
He takes a handful of different medications each day and one wonders what is actually wrong with him. He hooks up with some old friends he meets back up with in Jersey and finds out what they have been getting up to for the last few years. His father is a doctor and as he has been having some weird head pain and asks him for help. His father refers him to a neurologist and in the waiting room at the clinic he meets a girl (Natalie Portman) who is different and engaging. They start a conversation. She is funny and not at all needy or out of control like the other girls he had just met up with the previous night. They have a good time just chatting and he takes her home after their appointments and meets her mother. They seem a more normal family compared to his stoic parents and her house is well lived in and not a sterile environment like his own familial abode. You actually see the man smile and start to enjoy life a little. The movie is about their relationship and his relationship with his parents and why he hadn’t returned home for nearly a decade. Slow moving, funny, and quite sweet in parts.