Movie Review: Wish I Was Here

Wish I Was Here Movie Review

I don’t usually like to post reviews on movies that I’ve watched, because I feel like as a medium, they should be enjoyed, not critiqued. But earlier this week, I was at a screening for “Wish I Was Here” at the Melbourne International Film Festival, and honestly, there is nothing to critique about this film.

It is truly a MUST SEE film and I’m about to tell you why (without revealing too much of what happens):

In April 2013, Zach Braff and his brother, Adam, decided to write and create a film that was ultimately an unofficial spiritual sequel to “Garden State”, displaying a similar quirkiness and offbeat humour, but with a deeper maturity.

“Wish I Was Here” is the story of Aidan Bloom (Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid.

When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for private school for his two kids (ages 5 and 12) and the only available public school is on its last legs, Aidan reluctantly agrees to attempt to home-school them.

“Wish I Was Here” draws on so many themes – life and death, family, religion, mortality, and responsibility – and manages to tie them in together in a film that is heartbreaking, brave, poignant and emotional all at the same time.

In the film, there is a certain line said by Aidan’s wife, Sarah (Hudson), that really struck a chord with me: ‘The things unsaid stay with us forever’, describing the way she felt after a family member passed away.

There is often so much we want to say that we aren’t able to do until it is too late. I’ve felt that way before about people who have left my life unexpectedly.

I am thankful that I can use writing to express how I’m feeling – whether that be in a notebook that I can jot down any thoughts I have at any time of the day (as I always keep one in my bag) or via The 5 to 9 Life. Ever since I started this particular blog, I have tried to add a personal or reflective twist into each write-up, making it both personal and relatable so that I am not repeating someone else’s words, and also that my words are never really left unsaid.

But back to this review – “Wish I Was Here” is a film that you are guaranteed to LOVE and if for some strange reason you don’t, then you don’t have a heart. It’s beautifully written and a rising star emerges in a heartbreaking scene between daughter Grace (Joey King) via a telephone conversation with her uncle (Josh Gad) as Japanese Wallpaper’s Breathe In settles into the background as the soundtrack to the moving scene.

And the music itself is on another level – I remember hearing songs from Bon Iver, The Shins, Japanese Wallpaper and Gary Jules just to name a few, but honestly, they were the perfect artists to complement this stunning film and what a tear-jerker it turned out to be. Honestly, there was not a dry eye in the house. Make sure you have tissues on hand!

“Wish I Was Here” is the perfect balance of heavy and light – and I mean that in the sense of light-heartedness because although Wish I Was Here touches on heartbreaking themes, it is also hilarious. A few guest appearances from Ashley Greene, James Avery, Alexander Chaplin, Donald Faison, and Jim Parsons rounds up this touching and powerful film.