Wish I Was Here

Wish I Was Here

In Theatres: 
Jul 18, 2014
Running Time: 
120 minutes

In April of 2013 Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter to fund his next film directorial project, Wish I Was Here. The campaign closed as one of Kickstarter’s most successful projects at the time with more than $3 million raised. Now in limited release, Wish I Was Here is the film Braff intended to make thanks to and directly for his fans.

Aidan Bloom (Braff) is a struggling actor who is busy raising his two kids with his wife Sarah (Kate Hudson). When his father (Mandy Patinkin) stops paying for his children’s expensive school Aidan finds out it’s because he is dying and is trying out this new experimental treatment. With everything falling apart around him, Aidan sets off with his son Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and daughter Grace (Joey King) to fix the wrongs and find his purpose in life.

Like Garden State, Wish I Was Here hones in on a specific moment out of a person’s life and the events surrounding in. In this case, it’s the impending death of Aidan’s father. The film does an excellent job at staying grounding and connecting with audiences. We’ve all experienced death in our lives and the various emotions that come with it. Wish I Was Here draws out all those emotions on screen and lays everything out in the open.

The film isn’t without its quirks, however. One of the things I found most peculiar is the fact that Aiden criticizes his brother for being lazy and not getting his life together when he himself won’t give up his acting dream even though his family is in financial troubles. It’s a bit hypocritical of him. There are also some daydreaming sequences that feature Aiden in a futuristic space suit saving the world, but those scenes are so few and far between that they feel somewhat out of place in the grander scale of things. Those two complaints aside, Wish I Was Here is a fantastic and heartwarming film.

Wish I Was Here is an emotional journey that doesn’t hold back. It can make you smile one minute with a heartfelt joke or can bring life crashing down with its take on death. Zach Braff took a risk by going directly to the fans and in the end it ultimately paid off quite nicely.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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