Wish I Was Here: REVIEW

When he’s forced to take his kids out of Jewish private school, thirtysomething Aidan comes to an existential crossroads as he’s faced with becoming their home school teacher.

In his first film since making the poster child for indie films of the 2000s, Garden State, Zach Braff doles out a reflective and heartfelt drama about dealing with adulthood, responsibility, love, and loss.

Much was made about how the film was funded by Kickstarter backers, and what it could mean for the future of the film industry. Many argued that established artists such as Braff shouldn’t be using crowdfunding as a source of financing, while others argued that it was a progressive step towards more artists getting their sole vision onscreen. But after all that, is Wish I Was Here even a good film? By most measures, the answer is yes.

What Zach Braff has crafted here, despite all its flaws, is a sincere and ambitious tale about being lost in life, misguided, not knowing what to do next, balancing responsibility with following our passions, and making the most of the short time we’re given.

Wish I Was Here is moving and it feels honest — and that’s more than you can ask from most movies. WIWH resonated with me because it felt deeply honest — not like it was trying to push a certain agenda, or paint of picture of life that didn’t ring true. But it simply tried to convey the confusion, mystery, and truths about life in times of transition and mourning.

Wish I Was Here is an entertaining, uplifting, and joyful attempt at telling an honest story about part of what it means to be human, and “rising to the occasion” of the life we’re given.


Wish I Was Here is rated R for “language and some sexual content.” One scene depicts Aidan “enjoying” himself in front of his computer, and the language is frequent. Not for kids. 

© Matt Tory, 2014. 

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