Cert: TBC Runtime: 120 mins Director: Zach Braff Cast: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Pierce Gagon, Josh Gad, Jim Parsons and Mandy Patinkin
Life is an occasion rise to it
Last year Zach Braff brought forward a kickstarter campaign that rocked the internet, he wanted to make a follow up to Garden State (one of the greatest films I have ever watched). He had a vision an he wanted to keep it that way, so with over $3 million donated fans received various awards for their generosity. Part of the majority of people’s prizes was a free screening of the film. As an investee I was fortunate enough to view the film a week before US release and a few months before the UK release. So what is Wish I Was Here all about? It’s the story of Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He winds up trying to home school his two children (Joey King & Pierce Gagon) when his father (Mandy Patinkin) can no longer afford to pay for private education and the only available public school is on its last legs. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find.
This film, anticipated as a “sequel” to Garden State, it only shares some similar elements to it’s predecessor yet doesn’t really maintain any of the charm. GS left an imprint in my mind for months, Wish I Was Here had a message it was clear but it hasn’t had a lasting effect. It’s a great heartfelt film bare in mind, what you learn is to embrace life and over come any obstacles. Braff has matured as a director, the way the film flowed worked very well. The use of vibrant colour as a juxtaposition to the negativity of the film was well thought. The choice of cast was brilliant, Joey King and Pierce Gagon were emphatic. These kids have a future especially Joey, here hospital scene with Mandy Patinkin just heart wrenching. Speaking of Mandy Patinkin, he stole the show people. If you need acting class 101, his scenes need to be studied. Hudson and Braff had great chemistry, Braff was Braff to be honest. It was nice to see Hudson back in a film, it was a breath of fresh air to see her.
On a technical level, it’s really well put together and amazing for being a Kickstarter project.The biggest issue with this film is that they simply did not put enough effort into actually writing something that was coherent nor providing any artistic merit. It’s all style and virtually no substance which causes it to eventually lag throughout, what seemed to be, the second act. This style easily worked with Garden State given that it was a film about feeling aimless in life, however it doesn’t work the second time around. There seems to be a lot of story lines that don’t really go anywhere or provide anything to the main plot and the fantasy sequences serve NO purpose whatsoever.Although sometimes dragged down by the sheer weight of it all, Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” is a massively heart-warming, enjoyable, and refreshing tale of love and loss which is sure to tug at your heart at one point or another.