Garden State

( 41 )

Overview

In the wake of his success on the hit NBC sitcom Scrubs, actor Zach Braff made his debut behind the camera writing, directing, and starring in this bittersweet romantic comedy. Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a young man who has just received word of his mother's passing. With this news, Andrew returns to the town in which he grew up, where he is greeted by his father, Gideon Ian Holm, a psychiatrist. In addition to mourning the loss of his mother, Andrew is also attempting to adjust to life without the emotionally ...
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Overview

In the wake of his success on the hit NBC sitcom Scrubs, actor Zach Braff made his debut behind the camera writing, directing, and starring in this bittersweet romantic comedy. Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a young man who has just received word of his mother's passing. With this news, Andrew returns to the town in which he grew up, where he is greeted by his father, Gideon Ian Holm, a psychiatrist. In addition to mourning the loss of his mother, Andrew is also attempting to adjust to life without the emotionally numbing antidepressants that he has recently opted to discontinue using. Gradually, with the absence of the pills, his reconnection with his past, and the introduction of Sam Natalie Portman, a woman who would seem to have little in common with him, into his life, Andrew is able to see the potential for some positive changes. Also starring Jean Smart and Peter Sarsgaard, Garden State was once titled Large's Ark and premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Scrubs star Zach Braff displays astonishing versatility as the writer, director, and leading man of this charming, visually striking independent drama, which came from nowhere to captivate critics and audiences in 2004. Braff impressed viewers with his understated, perceptive portrayal of a struggling, chronically depressed actor who returns to his home state of New Jersey for his mother’s funeral. Emotionally numb and ill equipped to cope with his estranged father a miscast but nonetheless effective Ian Holm, the actor lunges into an unexpectedly satisfying relationship with a delightfully eccentric young woman Natalie Portman who turns out to be a pathological liar. Garden State is a difficult movie to classify: In spots it’s very funny, yet it’s not really a comedy. It’s also sad, yet not a tragedy. It’s frequently sober and contemplative but hardly a pure drama. The film is multilayered, like life itself. Branff’s script has depth and the characters are well drawn if somewhat ambiguous; we’re never really sure, for example, how to feel about the actor’s former best friend Peter Sarsgaard, a gravedigger who doesn’t think twice about stealing jewelry interred with corpses but goes to extraordinary lengths to do a favor for his grieving friend. We root for a reconciliation between the bereaved father and the son he drove away years ago, but Ian Holm plays the dad as too distant and detached to reach any lasting understanding with his boy. In the end it’s Portman’s character that makes the strongest impression, rousing Braff’s actor from his self-imposed torpor and giving him a reason to reengage. Garden State won’t bowl you over with flashy histrionics or garrulous profundity, but it will creep up on you and leaving you wanting more when the end credits begin to roll.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
A sort of The Graduate-lite, the directorial debut of actor and former film-school student Zach Braff is a little too strident in its efforts to reach for cinematic relevance, but it's also ultimately a moving comedy drama that skillfully renders a generation's grudging acceptance of its own thwarted yearnings and subsequent frustration. Andrew Largeman (Braff) and his buddies are casual about everything -- death, drug abuse, rejection, love. Even their rage seems muted, spent, and running on fumes. Garden State asserts that such ennui has its yin and yang, that it allows for a certain bemused detachment from life, but that its price (disconnection from other humans) is probably too high. It's a marvelously self-assured tone and message, impressively aware from a first-time writer/director. Braff also displays great skill with his cast, eliciting superb performances from Natalie Portman and the reliable Peter Sarsgaard. Not to call it a perfect film: interesting characters appear once and then never again, for no particular reason other than injecting self-conscious quirkiness, and the style sometimes overwhelms the content as the filmmaker reaches, clumsy and ham-fisted, for auteur status with over-thought shots and techniques. There's enough substance in Garden State, however, to inspire confidence in Braff as a creative force and anticipation for his next project behind the camera.
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers
It's a hilarious and heartfelt ode to twentysomething angst. Braff has himself a winner.
Baltimore Sun - Chris Kaltenbach
Garden State is filled with characters you long to know more about, in situations to which almost anyone can relate. And that's as near a can't-miss movie formula as one can get.

It's a hilarious and heartfelt ode to twentysomething angst. Braff has himself a winner.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/28/2004
  • UPC: 024543155966
  • Original Release: 2004
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Zach Braff Andrew Largeman
Natalie Portman Samantha
Peter Sarsgaard Mark
Ian Holm Gideon Largeman
Jean Smart Carol
Ann Dowd Olivia
Ron Leibman Dr. Cohen
Method Man Diego
Denis O'Hare Albert
Michael Weston Kenny
Jim Parsons Tim
Jackie Hoffman Aunt Sylvia
Amy Ferguson Dana
Ato Essandoh Titembay
George C. Wolfe Restaurant Manager
Geoffrey Arend Karl Benson
Alex Burns Dave
Aunjanue Ellis
Jayne Houdyshell Mrs. Lubin
Armando Riesco Jesse
Christopher Carley
Technical Credits
Zach Braff Director, Screenwriter
Pamela Abdy Producer
Laura Ballinger-Gardner Art Director
Judy Becker Production Designer
Bill Brown Co-producer
Buck Damon Musical Direction/Supervision
Amanda Demme Musical Direction/Supervision
Danny DeVito Executive Producer
Chad Fisher Score Composer
Gary Gilbert Producer
Dan Halsted Producer
Ken Ishii Sound/Sound Designer
Avy Kaufman Casting
Myron Kerstein Editor
Richard Klubeck Producer
Heather Loeffler Set Decoration/Design
Michael Shamberg Executive Producer
Stacey Sher Executive Producer
Lawrence Sher Cinematographer
Michael Wilkinson Costumes/Costume Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(0)

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