Garden State (2004)

Original Title : Garden State
Director : Zach Braff
Writer : Zach Braff
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Pamela Abdy , Bill Brown (II) , Danny DeVito , Gary Gilbert (I) , Dan Halsted , Richard Klubeck , Ann Ruark , Michael Shamberg (I) , Stacey Sher
Music : Nick Drake (I)
Chad Fisher
Photography : Lawrence Sher
Distributor : Fox Searchlight Pictures [us]
MPAA Rating : Rated R
IMDB ID : 0333766
Official site :
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poster for "Garden State" by Zach Braff (2004)
Garden State (2004) - Zach Braff


Zach Braff Andrew Largeman
Kenneth Graymez Busboy
George C. Wolfe Restaurant Manager
Austin Lysy Waiter (as Austin Lusy
Gary Gilbert I
Jill Flint Obnoxious Girl
Ian Holm Gideon Largeman
Peter Sarsgaard Mark
Alex Burns Dave
Jackie Hoffman Aunt Sylvia Largeman
Michael Weston I
Christopher Carley Gleason Party Drunk (as Chris Carley
Armando Riesco Jesse
Amy Ferguson Dana
Trisha LaFache Kelly (as Trisha LaFrache
Jim Parsons II
Jean Smart Carol
Yvette Mercedes Neurology Receptionist
Jayne Houdyshell Mrs. Lubin
Natalie Portman Sam
Ron Leibman Dr. Cohen
Ann Dowd Olivia
Ato Essandoh Titembay
Wynter Kullman Pam
Geoffrey Arend Karl Benson
Soara-Joy Ross Handi-World Cashier
Ryan B. Moschetti Teen in Hallway
Method Man Diego
Joe Bacino Man Having Sex
Tracey Antosiweicz Hooker
Seth Michael May Peeping Tom
Denis O'Hare Albert
Debbon Ayer Faye
Ice VI
Magoo II
Pamela Abdy Casting Assistant (uncredited
James Ecklund Bored Actor (uncredited
Ben Hauck Sleeping Actor (uncredited
Jakob Hawkins Waiter (uncredited
Janet Huege LA Actress (uncredited
Lisa Soule Mom crying with baby (uncredited


Andrew Largeman is a depressed, out of work actor eking out his existence in Los Angeles. But a fateful call from his father has Andrew heading back to his home state of New Jersey. As he's about to confront his the personal demons in his life, Andrew just may find that life is worth living. But only when he can deal with the conflicts that arise from he and those around him.


What ever happened to the BREAKFAST CLUB kids? well they headed down to middle suburbia in the garden state where angst has turned into an utterly depressing feeling and reality is not a place where you wanna spend 24 hours a day. Andrew (BRAFF) is a failed actor trying to make it in LA, when his mother dies he is forced to go back to his town in New Jersey for a couple of days where he reencounters his past. This might sound familiar till you met the Klingon medieval knight, the man who reinvented the wheel with a twist and the misfits version of Noe's biblical apocalypse, to top that Andrew's family is the mount Himalayas of dysfunctional families facing a Murphy's law gone mad kind of scenario. He put his mother on a wheel chair when he was nine and has his own father giving psychiatric advice and a lot of pills. The last thing I would expect from the funny doctor of SCRUBS is to write, direct and act in what is hands down the best story of the year. Already comparisons with ALLEN let me tell you that for a debut feature he has managed to trash the early years and move straight to the best subtle blend of comedy and drama that are MANHATTAN and ANNIE HALL. There is nothing classic about the structure that works as a relentless succession of magic moments chain together with great gags. Something that opens musically with COLDPLAY can not possibly go wrong and it doesn't, gets even better when we are introduced to the song "that will change your life, I promise" or so says Sam (NATALIE PORTMAN), I'm not sure if somethings can be change that easy but certainly will have you running to buy the soundtrack when the credits roll, the song NEW SLANG... the band THE SHINS. BRAFF acts his way out even when he struggles with the more dramatic bits thanks to his companions. I have never understood all the buzz with PORTMAN so he played an OK role in LEON and moved on to the galaxy far away... so what? I really think this is the turning point for her, at least she has been given the chance to chew a very challenging persona and delivers an honest performance and then we get PETER SARSGARD who is mastering the art of getting great chunks of acting from the STAR WARS puppets as he did with VADER in SHATTERED GLASS. He is the most talented actor of this crew following GABRIEL BYRNE advice that in acting the most important things are looks, movements and silences. In the best year for both music and films since the Tarantino revolution I dare to say, if you only watch one film this year make it to GARDEN STATE and you better make it quick because HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS may have that edge. Like the SHINS would say "it's a luscious mix of words and tricks", watch it.
poster for "Garden State"
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Garden State (2004) - Zach Braff