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Garden State (2004)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  20 August 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 182,646 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 978 user | 203 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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12 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Graymez ...
Alex Burns ...
Gleason Party Drunk (as Chris Carley)


Andrew Largeman is a semi-successful television actor who plays a intellectually disabled 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


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Large  »

Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$201,115 (USA) (30 July 2004)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While filming the funeral scenes most of the extras were Orthodox Jews and prevented the crew from shooting on Shabbat and craft service was forbidden from serving any non-Kosher food on the property lines. See more »


When Andrew sees the doctor for the first time, he is wearing glasses which he takes off and put back on again. However in the next shot they are gone, and he puts them back on again (again). See more »


[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

Under the "Make-up" credits....Kabuki (a traditional style of Japanese theater and makeup) See more »


Referenced in Family Guy: Back to the Woods (2008) See more »


Written by Cinjun Tate (as August Cinjun Tate), Shelby Tate, Cedric Lemoyne, Jeffrey Cain Thompson and Gregory Slay
Performed by Remy Zero
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under License From Universal Music Enterprise
See more »

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User Reviews

A subtle, quiet reflection for Zach Braff
4 April 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Garden State isn't like many Hollywood films these days.

There's no big men with one liners and 300 pound weapon arsenals. it is a simple, quiet film thats been made with a care only found in independent films.

The plot, in not too many words, is pretty basic. A young, heavily medicated, twenty-something returns home to New Jersey for his mothers funeral. He meets a lot of his old loser friends from high school, and a girl called Sam. I won't reveal any more details, but I assure you that there is nothing you won't see coming.

The plot is not the main driving force, and throughout it remains very focused on the characters, all of whom are thoroughly believable and likable.

The jokes in the film (and the mixture of comedy with drama), are very similar to Braff's comedy series Scrubs. From the off-the-wall nature of the shirt joke (you'll see) to the directness of the indefatigable dogs there's certainly a broad range to appeal to everybody.

The performances are all spot on as well. Zach Braff essentially reprises his role of J.D from Scrubs, and brings the level of intensity you can expect from a man who's been on Lithium for as long as he has. Not that he gives a performance thats lesser than all the other characters, in fact if he'd been anymore vibrant he would of appeared false, but he does seem to let his co-stars run with it in almost every scene, placing him firmly in the background, which is very strange for a main character. He does all his character is required to do and essays a likable, interesting lead man.

Natalie Portman, on the other hand, is entirely different. This is the film that blasted her to dream girl status, and you can see why. She plays the traditional free spirited young girl, but she adds so much more than just blatant eccentricity. She takes what could of been a banal, two dimensional character and turns her into an utterly believable, independent young woman. Of course shes very pretty, that goes without saying, but that is never really used as an excuse for her and Braffs relationship. Believe me, any self respecting man/boy between the ages of 12-50 wont leave the theatre without feeling very attached to Samantha.

The supporting cast are all suitably excellent. Peter Saarsgard gives an outstanding performance as Braffs old best friend, as does Ian Holm as his mourning father. All of the others are very good, but seeing as their are so many I shall not list them here (most new areas have another supporting character or two).

All in all, an excellent debut from Braff, who shows that he is capable of delivering simple emotional stories with love and care. Anchored by intelligent scripting and believable performances Garden State is a truly remarkable piece of indie cinema.

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