Garden State - Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Ian Holm, Zach Braff
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities
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
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
- Garden State official movie sites:
- Garden State movie trailers:
- Awards and film festivals:
- International Press Academy Golden Satellite Awards 2004: Nominated: Actress In A Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical (Natalie Portman), Actor In A Supporting Role - Comedy Or Musical (Peter Sarsgaard)
- London Film Festival 2004: Film on the Square
- MTV Movie Awards 2005: Nominated: Best female performance (Natalie Portman), Breakthrough male (Zach Braff), Best kiss (Natalie Portman and Zach Braff)
- Sundance Film Festival 2004: Nominated: Grand Jury Prize Dramatic (Zach Braff)
- cf. Miss Congeniality
- See also Mullet
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
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)
104 minutes (1:44 hours)