Garden State (2004)
Critic Consensus: Delivering a quirky spin on familiar twentysomething tropes -- with a cannily-placed soundtrack -- Garden State has enough charm to mark a winning debut for first-time director Zach Braff.
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as Andrew `Large' Large...
as Dr. Gideon Largeman
as Dr. Cohen
as Aunt Syliva Largeman
as Mrs. Lubin
as Karl Benson
as Handi-World Cashier
as Restaurant Manager
as Young Hollywood Guy
as Obnoxious Girl
as Gleason Party Drunk
as Neurology Receptioni...
as Teen in Hallway
as Man Having Sex
as Peeping Tom
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Critic Reviews for Garden State
Feels too piecemeal and ultimately inconsequential to grab the public where it counts.
This is a movie where 'sensitivity' and 'sincerity' are signposted by songs by Paul Simon and Nick Drake, which I guess says it all.
Although flawed, Garden State is a good-natured film whose very likeability leaves you willing to overlook its shortcomings.
It's no longer a generational alarm clock, but for those who've seen loved ones stumble through complacent fogs of Paxil, Zoloft and the like, "Garden State" still warns that "stability" doesn't mean a numbness to anything not emotionally even-keeled.
Audience Reviews for Garden State
Touching and charming, Garden States features great performances (especially from Natalie Portman) and an interesting premise. It also contains some memorable scenes that are expertly crafted and at times smartly hilarious.
A small-time actor (Zach Braff), doped up on heroic doses of antidepressants, returns home to New Jersey for his mother's funeral and finds love with a quirky lady (Natalie Portman) while working through his family issues. The first half hour is an excellent, deadpan comedy of alienation that feels like a 21st century riff on THE GRADUATE; momentum slowly fades away as the script yields originality to the conventions of the romantic comedy genre.
The directorial debut of sitcom actor Zach Braff, many were impressed and surprised by the serious depth and eccentric writing in the script. Also starring in the titular role of Andrew Largeman, Braff is mirroring his own life story and the reaches of his own depression at the time he wrote the script. Now an indie darling and cult classic, the film certainly resonates because of its following of a family's turmoil, but more importantly the role of the deadened senses of the young, and how a person in a quagmire really needs to grab at life for the good. The film centers on child actor turned waiter Andrew, who comes back to his home state of New Jersey for the funeral of his father. He runs into his friends from high school, meets a doctor's receptionist who is a pathological liar and a loveable girl next door, and tries to understand the procession of his life without mood altering drugs or the guilt over his mother's injury. Most of the film is about a love story between down and out Andrew and epileptic Sam, who is making her way through life while keeping her disability a secret and trying to connect to someone besides her loving and yet embarrassing mother. Full of really great and odd performances, it contains many great actors who usually take on smaller and yet substantial roles such as Peter Sarsgaard as a grave digging kleptomaniac, Ian Holm as Andrew's psychiatrist father, who had put his son into a lithium infused haze, and strangely enough a cameo from rapper Method Man as a bellhop. Sincerely, Braff has created a very youth centered and dramatized film, including a Grammy winning soundtrack put together by Braff himself, and an ending that is understandably clichéd and yet satisfying.
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