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Garden State
     

Garden State

4.7 41
Director: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm

Cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm

 

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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

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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/28/2004
UPC:
0024543155881
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
R
Source:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:42:00
Sales rank:
3,347

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by writer/director/actor Zach Braff, actor Natalie Portman and filmmakers; Outtakes and bloopers; 16 deleted scenes; "Making-of" featurette

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 Actor
Jayne Houdyshell Mrs. Lubin
Armando Riesco Jesse
Christopher Carley Actor

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

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Andrew (Main Titles)
2. Welcome Home
3. Kenny the Cop
4. Mark's Party
5. Breakfast With Mom
6. Being Unimpressive
7. Sam
8. Off the Meds
9. A Ride Home
10. Sam's House
11. Burying the Hamster
12. The Skating Alligator
13. Laughing and Crying
14. The Idea of Home
15. Dangerous
16. Handi-World
17. Diego
18. Albert's Ark
19. The Infinite Abyss
20. The Goodbye Gift
21. Safe
22. To Feel Again
23. Something Really Big
24. End Titles

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Garden State 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was absolutly life changing to see this movie, so increbile, and i definitly do not throw that word around often, but this film was just amazing. As his directiol, writing, and film acting debut, Zach Braff is an absolute genius who deserves all the praise he has gotten for this movie and for Scrubs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most anyone who has searched for his/her own identity and happiness while coping with an unforgiving past and misunderstanding family will appreciate this story. We can get on with our lives - and enjoy what years we have left - if we make the bold, conscious decision to do so.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Zach Braff is not only hot, but he does an amazing job acting, and directing this movie. He also wrote the story, which adds so much more to it all. I only saw the movie once, and that was while it was still in theaters. The movie had such an impact on me. It related to my life in so many ways, and I'm sure it relates to a lot of other peoples lives as well. You can't go wrong buying this movie. It's incredible, and amazing. But those 2 words don't describe it well enough. There simply aren't words wonderful enough to descibe Zach's awesome film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I adored this movie. It was so good. Zach Braff is a brilliant actor and Natalie Portman blew me away. I would recommend this movie to everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this movie very easy to relate to because of Natalie Portman and Zack Braff's characterities in the movie. I really like the fact that this movie shows how overmedicated this culture is on anti-anxiety and anti-depressants pills. It is true about the character Large feeling numb from the pills as a side effect,among things. I felt the point of the movie was until you need with whatever is truly troubling your psyche all the pills in the world won't make a difference. It shows you that there are things in life that must be overcome no matter how difficult it is. I also enjoyed seeing the characters interact with one another.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this movie very much. I am only a thirteen year old boy, but I understood this movie completely. Zach Braff sure has talent, and I thank him for making such an excellent movie possible. I absolutely enjoyed Natalie Portman in this movie; her performance is amazing. She truly is unique, throughout the whole movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just saw this movie last night and I loved it. It made me think of my 21 yr. old son. It definitly touched my heart. The actors are excellent and so is the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At times this film is funny... and it tries very hard to be touching and have some deep meaning... but in my opinion comes up short in that category. For me... Garden State didn't do enough to qualify as outstanding cinema and certainly wasn't 'life changing' for this reviewer. Garden State was an okay film and overall I felt it was a little over hyped. The performances were very solid all the way around from the cast... but the story which started out very promising seemed to really flatten out as it went on. Basically I felt nothing inspirational about a bunch of troubled kids who use drugs for fun... don't believe in God and wander the world aimlessly looking in all the wrong places to fill the void in their lives. Just not my cup of tea.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful film, beautifully written, directed and acted by Zach Braff. I am now a fan of Natalie Portman because of her performance. Not only is this movie funny, but there is a seriousness to it that makes it that much better. Rent this movie. No wait, buy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen many films, however none have spoken to me as deeply as this one has. The films message is simple, yet one that many of us need to hear: Sometimes life hurts, but you have to let yourself feel it. It's a poignant message wrapped up in an unconventional, oddball love story. It's a bit predictable, but well worth any time you invest in watching it. My life has changed after seeing this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot begin to describe how wonderful this movie is! I will begin by saying that there has never been, and never will be, a movie as moving, powerful, and touching as this one. 'Garden State' begins by telling you only that Andrew Largeman's (Braff) family is not that of a loving, and close one. The movie goes into greater detail of this as Andrew comes back to his hometown to find that his mother has died in a tragic manner, and to later think that his mother had actually taken her own life. Andrew later finds what ends up being something we all want; the love of his life, Sam. After only knowing Sam for four days, She ends up changing his life. Even though since returning home has changed his life all for the better, with a greater relationship with his family, friends, and the introduction of the love of his life, Andrew decides to leave his home again to go find his 'ellipsis'. Then, in a turn of events, Andrew Largeman finds what seems as a blessing from his mother's death: a greater life in the home that was once not-so-great, and everything he's always wanted: a greater relationship with all of his loved ones. I swear, this movie will change your life; there is none other like it. I swear it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I finished watching the film,I just sat there and cried and said a silent thank you to Mr. Braff and Ms. Portman..FINALLY a film that portrayed someone with epilepsy as being human-we are real people, you know. The symbolism was outstanding.Kuddos to everyone involved.!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
GARDEN STATE is probably the most amazing movie I have ever seen. The dialogue and the overall feeling you get by just watching the characters unfold scene-by-scene is truly a masterpiece. Natalie Portman should have gotten nominated for an Oscar. She made me speechless in this movie. I was amazed by her extreme talent. This movie takes you for a ride you'll love and never forget! When I gave it 5 stars...I meant it - SEE THIS MOVIE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Natalie Portman for Closer? Why not Natalie Portman in Garden State, a much more honest, compelling performance. And best original screenplay? Can't believe this wasn't nominated. Deserved it though. If you haven't seen this movie, see it. Will be better than most of the Oscar nominated movies, although there are some good ones on the list no doubt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film was full of beauty and fabulous insite on a life that wasn't fantasized. It was all about how no matter how hard life gets, love will pull you through it. Andrew Largemen has been on drugs his whole life to help him avoid pain. When he takes himself off the drugs, it feels like the pain is rushing in to greet him but really it is only the begginning of his new, real, and better life. It is full of amazing, well thought out words and incredibly and powerfully moving scenes. I HIGHLY recomend this outstanding film to anyone who enjoys a good movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is so important for the way it speaks to the entire mid-to-late twenties generation. Everything, from the listlessness, to the thoughts about going home again, to the choices of going after love, trying to find yourself, or possibly doing both at the same time, have confronted my generation at one time or another. Zach Braff plans on doing movies full-time soon, and that is just fine with me. He has an insight and depth that is rare. The performances here were stellar, and the film was lifted at just the right moments by hilarity: the scene with the knight, Natalie Portman pulling on her ear, and the scene where he can't swim. One of the best movies, AND soundtracks, ever made, in my humble opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best movie of the year. The chemistry between Zach Braff and Natalie Portman is amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything about this movie is great. Zach Braff and Natalie Portman were such a good on-screen couple and the plot was absolutely amazing!
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