Basic Plot Synopsis: Andrew Largeman, an aspiring actor in L.A, is forced to return to his hometown in New Jersey after the unexpected death of his mother. During his brief stay he reconnects with his high school chums, confronts his distant father, falls in love, and discovers exactly what it means to be alive.
Now, upon first glance, that synopsis may have triggered one of two thoughts, either: a) this jackass just gave away the whole movie, or b) haven't I seen about ten other movies with the exact same plot? Well, rest assured that neither of those assumptions are true.
Within this seemingly familiar plot you will find a brilliant story complete with a few characters that exist in your own life and some characters that you only wish existed in your own life. Andrew Largeman, played by Zach Braff (yeah, the guy from Scrubs), is the living embodiment of the uncertainty of twenty-something life. He's insecure, un-established, and searching for some type of meaning in his dreary world. His search appears hopeless until he stumbles upon Sam (Natalie 'be still my beating heart' Portman), a quirky free spirit who rescues him and teaches him what it means to be alive. Sam is the type of person we spend our whole lives looking for; she's someone we instantly connect with, and are forever changed by. When I left the theater I questioned whether people like this actually existed. And if they do, will I ever find one of these people? Or, have I found one at some point in my life and just not realized it? In other words, the film turned my ideas about the world of love upside down.
Aside from the story the film has gorgeous cinematography and a beautiful setting. The mood of the movie is completely driven by the brilliant camera work and choice of scenery. At this point I should probably mention that was written and directed by Braff as well. I should also mention that the film was a finalist for the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival - not bad for sitcom-er.
Finally, no movie review for this website would be complete without a critique of the soundtrack, and I'll put it plainly by saying this is the best mix tape assembled all year. The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel, Iron and Wine, Remy Zero, Frou Frou, etc. What more could we possibly ask for? Go see it.