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Movie Review: Wish I Was Here

Movie Review: Wish I Was Here

Director: Zach Braff
Writers: Adam J. Braff, Zach Braff
Stars: Zach Braff, Joey King, Pierce Gagnon

Synopsis: Aidan Bloom is a 35-year-old man who finds himself at major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his career, and his family.

DIRECTION
Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here will feel familiar to those who saw his directorial debut film, Garden State, as this film also focuses on the hardships of life and the emotional poignancy that comes with it. The cinematography is gorgeous, well used and enhances the film a great deal. However, Braff’s editing is troubling here and unfortunately, too distracting at times. He’s forced to re-earn every emotional beat, which may work, but is unnecessary.

Grade: B-

SCRIPT
Wish I Was Here explores the arduous realities of life, but that coping with them doesn’t have to be an individual event. Braff also explores themes of family, hope and how guidance of sorts can make a difference in the heartache of tragedy. Despite the film feeling unfocused at times, it’s certainly heartfelt and provocative as well.

Grade: B+

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PERFORMANCES
Braff is wonderful in his role, making you feel his hurt and struggle as he must learn to find himself again. Braff has some wonderful moments with his kids, played by Joey King and Pierce Gagnon, which were incredibly endearing and fun to watch. Those scenes were also big bright spots in a film that dealt with mostly heavy material. King and Gagnon were just as fantastic too. Kate Hudson was terrific as Aiden’s wife and Josh Gad added a fun brother dynamic to Braff’s character, which will speak loud to a lot of people.

Grade: A

SCORE
The soundtrack isn’t as good as Garden State but it’s still pretty wonderful. Hozier, Paul Simon, Bon Iver and The Shins all make appearances on the soundtrack as well as several others to help add a strong layer to the film. They fill the music void extremely well and it’s a soundtrack you’ll want to check out.

Grade: A-

FINAL THOUGHTS
Wish I Was Here is definitely a flawed film, but it’s themes are relevant and it’s emotional beats are still heartfelt. Sure, some of them may have to be re-earned, but if you can stick with it and try to stay engaged, it’s a wonderful experience that’s visually beautiful.

Overall Grade: B+

InSession Film founder and owner. I love film. Love art. Love how it intersects with our real lives. My favorite movies include Citizen Kane, The 400 Blows, Modern Times, The Godfather and The Tree of Life. Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran. Follow us @InSessionFilm.

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