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Garden state is my favorite film of all time, and I watch it time after time enjoying the incredible subtleties that Zach Braff includes.

However, the one detail that I don't understand is when he is in the airport about to leave back to California and when he walks by the sinks, each faucet goes off as he walks past.

Why do you think Zach Braff chose to do this?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Water usually symbolizes emotions. A faucet controls the flow of water. Faucets turning on and off automatically as Largeman passes could be saying something about his emotions being controlled by forces outside of him (drugs his father has prescribed) or about the limited range of his emotions at the start of the movie - this happens in a very sterile-looking bathroom after all.

The scene might also be foreshadowing an awakening of emotion in the character, something he will cause by deliberate action: walking too close to the sensors = stopping medication (both cause the emotions to start to flow). There is another scene in his parents' house where he tries to stop a leaky faucet and fails - perhaps he wants to stop the flow of emotion that has begun.

There are other water references in the movie. There is a rainstorm and an ark (prepared for a flood). There is a swimming pool into which Largeman conspicuously fails to jump. The tub is a symbol - it can hold a lot of water. The quarry can hold even more. There are Sam's tears and eventually Andrew's.

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Genius, thank you. I have watched Garden State countless times and with the exception of the arc/rain storm and his tears, I did not make the general water connection. Just one more reason I will continue to watch this movie again and again, there will always be more to pick up on. – Pkolms Jul 20 '12 at 18:46

His character is presented as a very numb, kind of like dead on the inside just breathing. My interpretation is that when he walks past the taps they go off which kind of shows that he is coming back to being a real person not just a floating ghost, if that makes any sense.

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