This film wasn’t what I expected. Not at all.
It touched a nerve.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
This Garden State for the current generation definitely resonates with high schoolers, as so many students told me to see it.
The characters are strong-willed yet insecure – the same paradox so many live in. Each longs to be seen and known yet holds to the wall hiding truckloads of hurt. Voila: wallflower.
“I didn’t think anybody could see me.”
Stand out performances from each of these actors made the film. And, it was beautifully directed by its screenwriter who also wrote the original novel. That is rare.
This is a sad story.
Loyalty and friendship frames the classic parentless 90’s high school paradigm as these teens deal with life together. They give meaningful gifts to one another, and as they do, they give pieces of themselves. This is beautiful.
Two unnecessary elements stand out. No need for Rocky Horror scenes, which added nothing to the story, except to add to the already sexually charged atmosphere. High schoolers are hormonal. That’s a given. Also, the scenes of drug use flowed with too much normalcy becoming distracting and disconcerting.
“I feel infinite.”
Despite those scenes, I felt known through this film. I left in tears wondering how I could write about a film that wrecks me so. This is real. The ache resounds. Somehow when pain is shared, we no longer feel alone. I can’t save anyone either, Charlie. But somehow as we share our messy selves with others, as we learn to love and to forgive, as we allow ourselves to be forgiven by God and everyone, we do, I agree, taste the infinite.