Garden State (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Garden State2004

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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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 old acquaintances around every corner living quite unique lives as gravediggers, fast food knights and the panderers of pyramid schemes. Meanwhile, at home, he does his best to avoid a long-simmering but inevitable confrontation with his father. By a twist of fate, Large meets Sam, a girl who is everything he isn't. A blast of color, hope and quirks, Sam becomes a sidekick who refuses to ride in his sidecar. Her warmth and fearlessness give Large the courage to open his heart to the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life.

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Zach Braff
as Andrew `Large' Largeman
Ian Holm
as Dr. Gideon Largeman
Ron Leibman
as Dr. Cohen
Ann Dowd
as Olivia
Jackie Hoffman
as Aunt Syliva Largeman
Jayne Houdyshell
as Mrs. Lubin
Ato Essandoh
as Titembay
Geoffrey Arend
as Karl Benson
Soara-Joy Ross
as Handi-World Cashier
George C. Wolfe
as Restaurant Manager
Gary Gilbert
as Young Hollywood Guy
Jill Flint
as Obnoxious Girl
Chris Carley
as Gleason Party Drunk
Yvette Mercedes
as Neurology Receptionist
Ryan B. Moschetti
as Teen in Hallway
Joe Bacino
as Man Having Sex
Seth Michael May
as Peeping Tom
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News & Interviews for Garden State

Critic Reviews for Garden State

All Critics (192) | Top Critics (51)

On the basis that it behoves all of us to keep a little nugget of our 15-year-old selves locked up in our breasts, I'm going to say this is a loveable film and that you should all go and see it to awake your inner adolescent.

December 20, 2017 | Full Review…

Braff captures the specific, self-involved ennui of the aimless 20-something, and he doesn't do it from a point of smug detachment.

June 21, 2016 | Full Review…

Smart drama for mature older teens and up.

December 24, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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

March 26, 2009

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…

One of the best directorial debuts in recent memory.

May 4, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Garden State


What a fine movie, finding just the right balance between humor and thoughtful scenes. Especially the writing is excellent, but so is the acting. If Natalie Portman wouldn't have gotten her Oscar nomination for Closer, she would have deserved it for her quirky, natural and wonderful performance in this. Just try not to fall in love with her character. Each awesome song from the soundtrack fits perfectly into the scene it is played in. Such a wise, sad and funny movie with a really unique atmosphere. Kudos to Zach Braff for pulling all that off. And the ending is nothing but perfect.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
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.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

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