Wish I Was Here

2014, Comedy/Drama, 1h 47m

133 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

There's no denying Wish I Was Here is heartfelt, but it covers narrative ground that's already been well trod -- particularly by director Zach Braff's previous features. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, lives in Los Angeles with his wife (Kate Hudson) and two children, Grace and Tucker. Up until now, Aidan's father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin), has been paying for the children's schooling, but he is now gravely ill. Thus, Aidan attempts to home-school his offspring. As his chaotic curriculum leads to some surprising self-discoveries for his family, Aidan must reassess his career, his relationships and his faith.

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Critic Reviews for Wish I Was Here

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (52) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (71)

  • By the end of the film, I felt like Wish I Was Here was trying to spoonfeed the audience hipster wisdom.

    January 22, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Just about all of the "compromises" that Braff says he'd have been forced to make (and I'm slightly perturbed to say this, being a fairly consistent support-the-artist type) would have made 'Wish I Was Here' a better film.

    June 18, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Since the adorable, simple Garden State, Braff's ambitions as a filmmaker have grown. He's reaching for answers to really big questions, but they are, just slightly, beyond his grasp.

    October 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As Aidan, Graff combines depth of insight with an endearing naivety, and the rest of the cast could hardly be better.

    September 26, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie is life-like, which is one of the highest compliments.

    September 22, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It sounds awful, but it's actually quite likable in an indulgent indie-spirited way, skipping breezily through laughter and tears in largely inoffensive fashion.

    September 21, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • By the end of the film, I felt like Wish I Was Here was trying to spoonfeed the audience hipster wisdom.

    January 22, 2021 | Full Review…
  • Just about all of the "compromises" that Braff says he'd have been forced to make (and I'm slightly perturbed to say this, being a fairly consistent support-the-artist type) would have made 'Wish I Was Here' a better film.

    June 18, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Since the adorable, simple Garden State, Braff's ambitions as a filmmaker have grown. He's reaching for answers to really big questions, but they are, just slightly, beyond his grasp.

    October 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • As Aidan, Graff combines depth of insight with an endearing naivety, and the rest of the cast could hardly be better.

    September 26, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded dramedy is a self indulgent therapy session.

    April 22, 2021 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • For every scene that rings emotionally true-and there are quite a few of them-there is another that feels forced.

    February 1, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wish I Was Here

  • Dec 07, 2016
    You can tell that director Braff is trying to repeat the quirkiness and humor of his masterpiece Garden State, just with a much bigger budget (which makes for a damn fine looking film). And it actually works for most of the film, sadly not all of it. Still, overall his take on death, family and religion is funny, touching and raises some very good and refreshing points. The actors are great and Braff still know great songs to pick for the right moments. Most importantly, many of the scenes are very memorable.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2015
    Zach Braff explores the challenges of parenthood and family in the indie comedy Wish I Was Here. Facing financial problems, an aspiring actor puts aside his dreams and homeschools his two children when he's unable to pay their tuition. Braff gives a great performance and is backed by a strong supporting cast that includes Kate Hudson, Joey King, and Mandy Patinkin. But the writing's a bit haphazard, throwing out a lot of seemly unrelated plot strands. Yet there's a sincerity to the film and its message about the struggles parents face. While good intentioned, Wish I Was Here is a mediocre comedy that overshoots and under-delivers.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2014
    Been a long time since "Garden State", but Zach Braff can still make a decent movie. This isn't nearly as good or impactful as "State", but still tells a good story with enough laughs to stay entertaining. Braff plays a struggling actor who has to rely on his wife(Kate Hudson) to support the family(they have 2 kids). His father then falls ill with cancer and can no longer afford to pay the bill for this kids private school. So Braff does what any other jobless parent would do, he home schools his kids. Hijinks ensue, and overall it's about being in your 30's and dealing with what you want out of your life. As opposed to what your life really is. Heavy stuff, I know. Good movie that makes me hope Braff doesn't take another 10 years to make a movie(he directed this). If he has to do kickstarter again like this, then so be it. Hell, I'd cough up some money, because he has some real talent. Not just that dumb guy from scrubs:-p
    Everett J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2014
    Director Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter campaign for his comedy film Wish I Was Here, which he co-wrote with his brother Adam J. Braff. Everything was well planned, and amazingly the campaign raised $2 million 3 days after the project was launched! The campaign ended raising $3,105,473 from 46,520 people. The film stars Braff, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, Joey King, and Mandy Patinkin, and it had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival . The story of Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find a purpose for his life, was very well written. That was the strongest part, even with the melodramatic elements at the end completely taking over the comedy in it! The comedy was fresh and spontaneous, especially when Aidan winds up trying to home school his two children Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and Grace (Joey King), when his father can no longer afford to pay for private education. Teaching his children about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn't find. I have to say that the directing and editing part had few obvious issues with some continuity of the scenes and with positioning of the actors. Still I, decided to give a positive review, because it was heartfelt, entertaining, close to real life and I felt good after watching it! Enough for me!
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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