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Garden State - Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Ian Holm, Zach Braff

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) 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" [New Jersey, USA - Director of Intelligence] in nine years. But even with 5000 kilometres between them, he's been unable to escape his domineering father Gideon (Sir Ian Holm) 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 (Peter Sarsgaard), 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 (Natalie Portman), a girl who is everything he isn't. A blast of colour, hope and quirks, Sam becomes a sidekick who refuses to ride in his side-car. Her warmth and fearlessness give Large the courage to open his heart to the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Garden State image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film drama romance New Jersey prodigal father son lithium

Persons of interest

  • Zach Braff .... Andrew Largeman
  • Ian Holm .... Gideon Largeman
  • Peter Sarsgaard .... Mark
  • Alex Burns .... Dave
  • Jackie Hoffman .... Aunt Sylvia Largeman
  • Michael Weston .... Kenny
  • Armando Riesco .... Jesse
  • Amy Ferguson .... Dana
  • Trisha Lafache .... Kelly
  • Jim Parsons .... Tim
  • Jean Smart .... Carol
  • Jayne Houdyshell .... Mrs Lubin
  • Natalie Portman .... Sam
  • Zach Braff .... Screenwriter
  • Zach Braff .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Garden State is one of those films that are written and directed by a young actor who is overflowing with creative juices and has finally convinced someone to pay him to do what he always wanted to do.

Zach Braff is good as the protagonist (he should be, he wrote and directed it!), presenting a character who is nothing like Benji in The Broken Hearts Club or Dr John "JD" Dorian in Scrubs. His script is nicely "slice of life" (ie he doesn't go overboard with weirdness) but there are a lot of moments of senseless beauty in the cinematography - sure, the film needs them to give it a lift but they're not in keeping with the drudgery of New Jersey life, even if Andrew has come from Hollywood.

Garden State is good, but not as good as the critics say it is.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Drug use)

Surveillance time

104 minutes (1:44 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 25 November 2004
DVD rental: 25 May 2005
VHS rental: 25 May 2005

Cinema surveillance images

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