Garden State

September 22nd, 2004

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Garden State

Still of Natalie Portman and Zach Braff in Garden StateStill of Zach Braff in Garden StateBonnie Somerville at event of Garden StateStill of Zach Braff in Garden StateStill of Natalie Portman and Zach Braff in Garden StateStill of Zach Braff in Garden State

A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.7/10 (117,467 voted)

Critic's Score: 67/100

Director: Zach Braff

Stars: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard

Andrew Largeman is a semi-successful television actor who plays a retarded quarterback. His somewhat controlling and psychiatrist father has led Andrew ("Large") to believe that his mother's wheelchair bound life was his fault. Andrew decides to lay off the drugs that his father and his doctor made him believe that he needed, and began to see life for what it is. He began to feel the pain he had longed for, and began to have a genuine relationship with a girl who had some problems of her own.

Zach Braff - Andrew Largeman
Kenneth Graymez - Busboy
George C. Wolfe - Restaurant Manager
Austin Lysy - Waiter
Gary Gilbert - Young Hollywood Guy
Jill Flint - Obnoxious Girl
Ian Holm - Gideon Largeman
Peter Sarsgaard - Mark
Alex Burns - Dave
Jackie Hoffman - Aunt Sylvia Largeman
Michael Weston - Kenny
Christopher Carley - Gleason Party Drunk (as Chris Carley)
Armando Riesco - Jesse
Amy Ferguson - Dana
Trisha LaFache - Kelly


Official Website: Fox Searchlight | Official site [Spain] |

Release Date: 22 September 2004

Filming Locations: 114 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $201,115 (USA) (1 August 2004) (9 Screens)

Gross: $35,825,316 (Worldwide) (21 July 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

At the funeral, there is a picture of Andrew's mother on display. The woman in the picture is actress Diane Salinger.

Crew or equipment visible: In the opening scene with Andrew in his L.A. bedroom, a gobo head (light stand) is reflected in the top of the fan blades.

[first lines]
Airplane pilot: [voiceover] Los Angeles Tower, this is Transworld 22 Heavy. We are going down! Repeat, engines two and... L.A. Tower, this is... Mayday! Mayday!

User Review

A Film that Defines a Generation

Rating: 10/10

Zach Braff's "Garden State" manages to accomplish something that very few films have been able to do throughout the history of cinema. It is a film that speaks to an entire generation. 1947's "The Best Years of Our Lives" spoke to our grandparents. "The Graduate" spoke to our parents. "Fight Club" spoke to our older brothers working dead-end jobs in the 90's. But it is with the arrival of "Garden State" that our generation is spoken to, those of us born in the early-mid 80's who are in our late teens and early twenties trying to make it by in a environment that seems all at once to strange and yet so familiar.

Homecoming is the theme of Garden State. Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff)) has been away from his hometown of New Jersey for the past nine years and returns to attend the funeral for his mother. While having been gone, Andrew has been on lithium and other forms of anti-depressant medication all prescribed to him by his psychiatrist father Gideon (Ian Holm). Upon his homecoming Andrew has decided to take a vacation from his medication and take some time to re-connect with himself. From there the plot grows as he connects with old friends and makes new ones and discovers the joys of life and love mostly thanks to the arrival of free-spirited Sam (Natalie Portman).

Braff has written and directed scenes that qualify to go down in the movie history books along such moments as Pulp Fiction's dance sequence, and The Deer Hunter's Russian roulette scenes. Two of said scenes that come to mind are when Sam takes Andrew up to her room for the first time and does something "totally original that has never been done before in this location and will never be copied again throughout the rest of human existence," in order to ease the pain of an awkward situation. Another scene occurs late in the film when the three principals stand at the edge of a seemingly endless abyss and scream at the tops of their lungs into the gorge. It is this moment that defines, with one pure act, the epitome of what it feels to be in your late teens, early 20's looking out at life. Standing at the edge of life and screaming.

While all the acting is noteworthy, including a hilarious cameo by Method Man (yes, that's right Method Man), it is Natalie Portman who steals the show. Sam is in essence the adult version of her character from Beautiful Girls. She's 26, but an old soul. It his in her that the movie comes out the realm of quirky off-kilter comedy and gains heart, soul, and intimacy all to rare to achieve in films these days. Bravo Ms. Portman. In addition, Peter Sarsgaard is becoming one of my new favorite actors, after having seen him in this film, Shattared Glass, and Boys Don't Cry within a matter of approximately three weeks.

I will go on record an call Garden State a masterpiece. It does exactly what films are supposed to do, take from all areas of art and incorporate them into one. It is a passionate mixture of visual flare, tremendous dialogue, hip music, and heart-warming pathos. I encourage anyone who is young to see this film. See it with the people you care about, this is your film, this is OUR film, and it couldn't be better.

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