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Garden State (2004)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Romance  -  20 August 2004 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 171,048 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 976 user | 204 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kenneth Graymez ...
Busboy
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Gleason Party Drunk (as Chris Carley)
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Dana
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Kelly
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Storyline

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. Written by MichaelAGodfrey@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

home | pain | actor | doctor | drugs | See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, drug use and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Large  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£128,366 (UK) (10 December 2004)

Gross:

$26,781,723 (USA) (21 January 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Zach Braff wrote the majority of the script while he was in college, and originally titled it "Large's Ark". He tested the name on various messengers coming to his house during production, but none like the name. When he suggested "Large" no one liked it either. "Garden State" was well received. The original title still appears vestigially in the company credits, "Large's Ark Productions". See more »

Goofs

The first time Andrew goes to look at the tub where his mother died (when he adjusts the dripping faucet) there is a white handicapped railing attached to the side of the tub, the second time he goes there (when he is sitting in the tub with Sam) there is no longer a handicapped rail. See more »

Quotes

[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!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the title of the film there are no opening credits because Zach Braff hates opening credit sequences and thought they would take away from his movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Peter Sarsgaard/The Strokes (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

In the Waiting Line
(2001)
Written by Sophie Barker, Henry Binns, and Sam Hardaker
Performed by Zero 7
Courtesy of Warner Music International by Arrangement with Quango/Palm www.Palmpictures.com
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful Effort From First Time Writer/Director Zack Braff
24 February 2004 | by (Studio City, CA) – See all my reviews

I really loved this movie. I mean, really. So it surprised me to come here and find it rated so low.

By no means is this a perfect movie. It can be slow or awkward from time to time and there are one or two moments that just don't work. But. By and large I was really impressed.

It's a great little story with just the right balance of comedy and drama, full of quirky characters and interesting performances. Ian Holm demands attention, as always, and Natalie Portman's Sam, while offputting at first, definitely grew on me as she grew into a real character.

But the real story here is Zack Braff. It should surprise no one who has ever watched Scrubs that his performance keeps the movie together; or that he is able to create a jokey, distant, somewhat sarcastic character who also elicits real empathy from the audience and manages to emanate deep wounds. What amazes me is the work he has done here as a first time writer/director.

First off, there is an actual narrative here with meaning and relevance. Too often, the big Hollywood movies will have a plot that resolves itself, but means nothing; on the flip side, independent movies almost seem to disdain plot for mood and thematic concerns. Braff is able to weave both together--a difficult task for a young writer. The dialogue is witty, plot situations intelligent and creative, and overall the writing is just--good.

As for his directing, there are a few odd choices. I'm still not sure I like one scene the main characters are screaming into a deep ravine and the camera sweeps away into said ravine. It just tossed me out of the movie a bit. I'm also not completely sure what to make of the movie's ending, which I won't go into further except to say that I felt it almost changed the focus of the movie up to that point and made it about something else. However, there are moments of absolutely beauty as well, here. The entire scene where Sam and Andrew talk in his friend's pool has some great shots, and Braff's comedic flair and timing are evident in his directing style, which still manages to pull back for the more dramatic and poignant moments.

I urge you to see this movie. It's not a "big" movie. It was never meant to be. But I have little doubt that, once it finds an audience, it will be remembered for years to come. Sort of a modern day Graduate with a more hopeful outlook on life.


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