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Garden State (2004)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 187
Fresh: 161 | Rotten: 26

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.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 8

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 328,442

My Rating

Movie Info

Andrew Largeman shuffled through life in a lithium-induced coma until his mother's death inspired a vacation from the pills to see what might happen. A moderately successful TV actor living in Los Angeles, "Large" hasn't been home to the "Garden State" in nine years. But even with 3,000 miles between them, he's been unable to escape his domineering father Gideon and the silencing effect he's had on his son from afar. Stunned to find himself in his hometown after such a long absence, Large finds


Drama, Romance, Comedy


Zach Braff

Dec 28, 2004


Fox Searchlight - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (187) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (161) | Rotten (26) | DVD (35)

Feels too piecemeal and ultimately inconsequential to grab the public where it counts.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (3)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a movie where 'sensitivity' and 'sincerity' are signposted by songs by Paul Simon and Nick Drake, which I guess says it all.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Braff, Ms. Portman, Mr. Sarsgaard and Mr. Holm never strike a false note as a remarkably coherent acting ensemble, and it is good to see Ron Leibman again in the small role of Doctor Cohen.

September 10, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cleverly written, sensitively directed and very well-acted.

August 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

His movie is sweet-natured and skillful, but its biggest problem is perhaps one Braff wasn't prepared to deal with: his own performance -- or, more accurately, the decision to place a deliberately flat performance at the film's heart.

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Garden State may not define an entire generation, but it has a sharp eye for the passive aimlessness that can take hold when young adults realize there's no handbook on how to find purpose and meaning in life.

August 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although flawed, Garden State is a good-natured film whose very likeability leaves you willing to overlook its shortcomings.

November 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

Smart drama for mature older teens and up.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

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.

September 24, 2010 Full Review Source:

There is not a shot in this movie that doesn't shine...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Actor Zach Braff (NBC's "Scrubs") makes an impressive if unsatisfying writing and directing debut with a plaintive post-modern drama that relies on unspoken dry wit to entertain its audience (think a cross between "Harold and Maude" and "The Graduate").

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source:

Braff, who also wrote and directs, tells this story with great flair, lots of subtlety and a wonderfully paced set of revelations that come to us just as they might in real life.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

[A] goofy, melancholy, seriocomic slice of life...

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

It's good to see Natalie Portman acting again.

December 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

the quintessential product by and for uninspired times

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer | Comments (4)
Cinema Writer

While Braff's script may suffer from long-windedness, his direction -- of both cast and camera -- is so confident that this debut could well mark the start of a major career.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Both funny and touching, this is a small film that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs | Comment (1)
Three Movie Buffs

Es una buena primera película (...) El problema tal vez sea su incontrolable acumulación de situaciones...

September 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

The film manages to be delightfully offbeat while simultaneously providing weight and depth.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source:

[Offers] audiences a realistic coming-of-age tale that isn't bogged down by Hollywood clichés, but rather lifted higher by an incredible cast and an even more remarkable directorial debut by from Zach Braff.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source:

It's the kind of small treasure that drops in theaters once or twice a year.

June 20, 2005 Full Review Source: FromTheBalcony

One of the best directorial debuts in recent memory.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Boasts a sweet, moody rhythm.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

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.
May 19, 2014
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

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.
September 12, 2013
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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.
February 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

I don't usually like these artsy-fartsy movies about figuring life... and this is no exception.
December 28, 2012
Johnny D.

Super Reviewer

    1. Andrew Largeman: There's a handful of normal kid things I kinda missed.
    2. Samantha: There's a handful of normal kid things I kinda wish I'd missed.
    – Submitted by Justin C (21 months ago)
    1. Mark: The only thing worse than a favor is a favor involving money.
    – Submitted by Justin C (21 months ago)
    1. Andrew Largeman: Are you doing anything right now?
    2. Samantha: Can you elaborate on doing anything?
    3. Andrew Largeman: I just know this guy Jesse who bought this mansion that's right up here and we wants me to come visit him, but I don't want to stay very long. So I was thinking if you came too I could just say I have to take you home when I'm ready to go.
    4. Samantha: Wow. That's pretty damn random of you, Andrew. Nice to meet you. Can I use you?
    5. Andrew Largeman: No.
    6. Samantha: Must be the Hollywood in you, I guess.
    7. Andrew Largeman: No, come on, it's not like that. It will be fun. I'll tell you what, we could have a signal. Like when you pull on your ear that's the code and then I'll be like, oh I gotta take her home. And then we'll go.
    8. Samantha: Can we have code names, too?
    9. Andrew Largeman: If you want.
    10. Samantha: Okay. But don't try and kidnap me or anything because my step-uncle is a bounty hunter and he could have you tracked and killed.
    11. Andrew Largeman: You're such a liar!
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
    1. Andrew Largeman: So why were you really there?
    2. Samantha: Charging, I'm a robot.
    3. Andrew Largeman: Do you lie a lot?
    4. Samantha: What do you consider a lot?
    5. Andrew Largeman: Enough for people to call you a liar.
    6. Samantha: People call me lots of things.
    7. Andrew Largeman: Is one of them liar?
    8. Samantha: I could say no, but how would you know I'm not lying?
    9. Andrew Largeman: I guess I could choose to trust you.
    10. Samantha: You can do that?
    11. Andrew Largeman: I can try.
    12. Samantha: Whose bike is that?
    13. Andrew Largeman: It 'was' my grandfather's it was the only thing he left to anybody in the world and he left it to me. And I like it.
    14. Samantha: So this is the point in the conversation where you'd ask me if I like a ride home.
    15. Andrew Largeman: It is?
    16. Samantha: Yep
    17. Andrew Largeman: Would you like a ride home?
    18. Samantha: Fine but I'm not getting in that side car.
    19. Andrew Largeman: Why not?
    20. Samantha: Side cars are for bitches anyone who rides in that is automatically your bitch! Thus I will ride on the back. Whoa!
    21. Andrew Largeman: Hold on.
    22. Samantha: Okay holding my hair's blowing in the wind!
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
    1. Samantha: What are you doing?
    2. Andrew Largeman: Remember that idea I had, about working stuff out on my own, and then finding you once I worked stuff out?
    3. Samantha: The ellipsis?
    4. Andrew Largeman: Yeah, the ellipsis, it's dumb. It's dumb. It's an awful idea. I'm not gonna do it, okay? Cause like you said, this is it. This is life. And I'm in love with you Samantha, I think that's the only thing I've ever really been sure of in my entire life. And I'm really messed up right now, and I got a whole lot of stuff I have to work out, but I don't want to waste any more of my life without you in it. And I think I can do this. I mean, I want to. I have to, right?
    5. Samantha: Yeah. Yes!
    6. Andrew Largeman: So what do we do? What do we do?
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
    1. Andrew Largeman: Wow
    2. Samantha: Yeah
    3. Andrew Largeman: I mean this is-
    4. Samantha: I know it's not that we're bad owners or anything it's just you we've had so many of them over the years, Besides a lot of these are fish.
    – Submitted by MarieBella C (2 years ago)
View all quotes (16)

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