Garden State - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Garden State Reviews

Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
November 7, 2011
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
March 26, 2009
Feels too piecemeal and ultimately inconsequential to grab the public where it counts.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
This is a movie where 'sensitivity' and 'sincerity' are signposted by songs by Paul Simon and Nick Drake, which I guess says it all.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
September 10, 2004
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.
Top Critic
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
August 20, 2004
Cleverly written, sensitively directed and very well-acted.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 13, 2004
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 13, 2004
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
August 13, 2004
The best parts of this droll, quietly witty drama have the ring of truth.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
August 13, 2004
The kind of movie that reminds you why you love movies so much, a film so filled with unexpected energy and ambition and sly intelligence it gives you hope for the future.
| Original Score: A
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
August 13, 2004
Achingly alive, beautifully written first feature.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 13, 2004
Call the whole thing a mixed bag.
| Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
August 13, 2004
Sincere, funny and entertaining in a way that not only charms but disarms.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
August 12, 2004
This comedy works so diligently at being idiosyncratic, it comes off as artificial and forced.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Ed Bark
Dallas Morning News
August 12, 2004
A little gem of a film full of believably offbeat characters and eclectic mood music.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 12, 2004
It takes the comic-drama Garden State awhile to take root, but then it quickly grows on you.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
August 6, 2004
There is a little unevenness. But for a directorial debut, it's amazingly assured.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
August 6, 2004
Features some wonderful performances, chief among them an engaging, even courageous turn from Natalie Portman.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 6, 2004
It steals shamelessly from The Graduate without indicating a whit of appreciation for the earlier film.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
August 6, 2004
It has an askew sense of humor that's grounded in honest observation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
August 6, 2004
A standard issue, first-movie navel-gaze whose cobwebs Braff meticulously sweeps away by directing the bejesus out of it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
August 6, 2004
A comedy with so many moments of found insight and irony that it can scarcely contain them all.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 6, 2004
It's smart and unconventional, with a good eye for the perfect detail.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
August 6, 2004
One of the smarter examples of the form.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 5, 2004
Garden State, Zach Braff's lyrical directorial debut, self-consciously announces itself as a baby buster generational marker -- and richly deserves the designation.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Allison Benedikt
Chicago Tribune
August 5, 2004
Braff, now a proven triple-threat, is blessed with his own comic chops, an eye for the small details of regular life and a simple, straightforward directorial style.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
August 2, 2004
[A] very good film.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
July 30, 2004
Braff, and Garden State, give it the old college try, and at least some, if not all, of the sparks catch.
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
July 28, 2004
A likable if flawed comedy.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
July 28, 2004
Poignantly portrays a detached man who decides to tackle life -- with all its pain, joys and everything in between -- with his eyes open and his head clear.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
July 28, 2004
A richly populated if uneven act of comic catharsis.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
July 28, 2004
[Braff's] imaginative if sometimes scattered salute to both [the '70s] and Essex County, the place of his birth.
Top Critic
Megan Lehmann
New York Post
July 28, 2004
Braff proves himself a master of modulation, keeping a sure grip as the film's tone shifts like quicksand from humor to pathos and back.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
July 28, 2004
It offers something rare in the bond between Andrew and Sam. Their connection follows a believable arc from their first awkward encounter to a specific, believable intimacy, without which the movie's jokiness could have rung hollow.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
July 28, 2004
Illuminates a young man's overdue coming of age with unexpected depth and grace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Holden
New York Times
July 28, 2004
Zach Braff's small, smart, off-kilter comedy is too self-conscious by half, but its struggle to revitalize a cliche; by turning it inside out is a worthy one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
July 28, 2004
It's a hilarious and heartfelt ode to twentysomething angst.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
July 28, 2004
It's to Braff's credit as a first-time filmmaker with a suburban- laughing-boy soul that his story is as warm and unforced as it is.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Ed Park
Village Voice
July 27, 2004
Stormy twentysomething emotions seethe under a deft quirkfest.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 27, 2004
It's a forgettable film featuring a throw-away story with unmemorable characters and unremarkable performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Duane Byrge
Hollywood Reporter
January 19, 2004
An extremely well-modulated and mature work, especially for a first-time filmmaker.