I think I’ve finally figured out what I love so much about the movie Garden State.
(For those who don’t know me or my incessant need to analyze every thought, whim, and emotion that washes over me, don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.)
I love many aspects of the film. The music. The dialog. The scene with the Medieval Times knight eating Fruit Loops next to a hung-over Zach Braff with “balls” written across his forehead.
But as much as I love it in its entirety, what made me want to watch it again and again was the (spoiler alert) absolute sense of uncertainty in the last seconds of the film when he turns to her and says, “So what do we do? What do we do?”
I’m a hopeless romantic. And I mean the most hopeless of the hopeless sad sacks. And on top of that, I’ve now stumbled into my very own fairy tale. God help my friends, I must be insufferable.
But I do realize that while fairy tale endings are wonderful, describing them as endings at all is misleading. There aren’t many examples of the minutes, hours, years after THE END flashes across the screen. So what happens after the guy gets the girl?
No one writes the rest of the story. No one begins a story with a sense of an established relationship either, except to create a tired old foundation upon which tales of torrid affairs are built. Because as spectators we are not interested in the reality after the climax has been played out.
We don’t want to see stability. We don’t want to see comfort. To be truthful, we don’t even want to see happiness – we just want drama.
It’s easy to see why so many people grow up looking forward to that “happily ever after,” and then get bored to tears after they think they’ve accomplished it. Then resentment sets in. Fights are picked. Ultimatums are given. Anything to get that “spark” back.
Could explain some cases of commitment phobia, no?
So I love the ending of Garden State. Because it implies that the story isn’t over. It implies just the opposite, really. And to me, that is the most exciting part.
Of course, I am a Taurean. What’s worse, I’m a Taurean whose sense of stability and family was ripped away once, and not returned until she built it back for herself. So maybe I value stability more than most. In fact I’m a bit protective of it.
Or maybe I’m seeing through the fairy tale ending to the most beautiful part of all. The part where life begins anew. And its ongoing. And its scary and fun and there are beautiful experiences to be had every day. We just have to open our eyes to them.
“So what do we do?”