Back in 2004, Natalie Portman played the adorkable quirky crush in a fun little indie called "Garden State" -- which, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, was also the first onscreen appearance of the archetypal female character who would be known as the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl.
For that reason (among others), "Garden State" has since become the punchline to a certain kind of joke about movie-making in the early aughts -- and at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, Natalie Portman admitted that she's been lately feeling a little weird about that. From Vulture" target="_blank">Vulture:
"I’ve been insecure about it recently because of Broad City. Does anyone here watch Broad City?” she asked the audience. “Best show. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. And on the show there a really dorky characters who’s a gym instructor, like an Equinox guy or something, and he’s the worst. And he’s like, ‘Oh my god, I love Garden State! I donated all my money to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter.’ And I’m like” — Portman buried her head in her hands — “‘Oh my God.’ So now, because the people I think are the coolest think it’s really lame I’m kind of insecure about it."
Which is totally understandable, except that it's also ridiculous. Natalie Portman, you should never, ever feel insecure about "Garden State" -- and here's why.
Let's not forget that in 2004, this character was fresh, fun, and unusual.
It's not like anyone could've known that "mopey misunderstood man-children and the pixie dreamgirls who love them" would become the cinematic trend we'd love to hate in ten years.
And c'mon, you were adorable.
Yes, you were.
Plus, the movie itself had its iconic moments.
Hello, most popular group Halloween costume of 2004.
And the soundtrack is still pretty great.
If nothing else, the music of "Garden State" is a beautiful embodiment of a very particular moment in history -- and the soundtrack's popularity was a turning point for indie music. These are both good things.
And yes, okay: Some parts of the movie haven't aged as well as others... but that's not your fault, Natalie Portman.
It's Zach Braff's fault. It is all Zach Braff's fault. So don't blame yourself, Natalie! Blame Zach Braff. (Everyone else does.)