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' Largeman
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 Receptionist
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.
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.
Cleverly written, sensitively directed and very well-acted.
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.
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.
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.
Garden State Quotes
|Andrew Largeman:||There's a handful of normal kid things I kinda missed.|
|Samantha:||There's a handful of normal kid things I kinda wish I'd missed.|
|Mark:||The only thing worse than a favor is a favor involving money.|
|Andrew Largeman:||Are you doing anything right now?|
|Samantha:||Can you elaborate on doing anything?|
|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.|
|Samantha:||Wow. That's pretty damn random of you, Andrew. Nice to meet you. Can I use you?|