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67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Andrew Largeman (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. When he travels from L.A. back to his hometown, he meets Sam (Portman), a girl who is everything he isn't. Her warmth and fearlessnessAndrew Largeman (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. When he travels from L.A. back to his hometown, he meets Sam (Portman), a girl who is everything he isn't. Her warmth and fearlessness give him the courage to open his heart to the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life. (Fox Searchlight Pictures) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    100
    Garden State gets it. Not since "The Graduate" has a movie nailed the beautiful terror of standing on the brink of adulthood with such satisfying precision.
  2. Garden State illuminates a young man's overdue coming of age with unexpected depth and grace.
  3. 75
    This is not a perfect movie; it meanders and ambles and makes puzzling detours. But it's smart and unconventional, with a good eye for the perfect This is not a perfect movie; it meanders and ambles and makes puzzling detours. But it's smart and unconventional, with a good eye for the perfect detail.
  4. 75
    There's no denying the intelligence at work here, or Braff's skill at weaving off-the-wall humor and sight gags into a story that, at heart, is profoundly sad.
  5. 70
    Braff is bright and has a quick ear for vernacular dialogue, and he's caught the look and the sound of his blitzed, prematurely disillusioned generation, which has had to live with more lack of definition than most.
  6. 67
    Zach Braff has come up with a charming, funny, melancholy ode to twentysomething angst.
  7. Mr. Braff's idea of self-discovery is my idea of narcissism.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 111
  2. Negative: 16 out of 111
  1. CindyP
    Jan 10, 2008
    10
    Probably my favorite movie to date. I can watch it over and over again. The acting is incredible and the story is real and moving. I Probably my favorite movie to date. I can watch it over and over again. The acting is incredible and the story is real and moving. I can't imagine how anyone could not like this movie!! Expand
  2. Sep 5, 2010
    10
    Garden State is a great movie. Natalie Portman rocks! This movie is perfect for the sociology student. Don't miss it. It's one of NatalieGarden State is a great movie. Natalie Portman rocks! This movie is perfect for the sociology student. Don't miss it. It's one of Natalie Portman's best movies. Expand
  3. Jul 20, 2014
    10
    One of the smartest, perceptive dramas of the last decade. The characters are well developed, and the
    movie has a totally feel from any other
    One of the smartest, perceptive dramas of the last decade. The characters are well developed, and the
    movie has a totally feel from any other movie. Garden State is one of Natalie Portman's best movies.
    Expand
  4. Nov 22, 2011
    9
    The best, and possibly, the only way to accurately describe Garden State is "cheerfully melancholic". That is to say it deals with some reallyThe best, and possibly, the only way to accurately describe Garden State is "cheerfully melancholic". That is to say it deals with some really depressing issues that have a profound impact on numerous people's lives, but in a positive, matter-of-fact way. It's well written, in a naturalistic and believable sort of style, and well-directed by Zach Braff, who also chose the music for the excellent soundtrack. In short, Braff has proved himself to be an extremely versatile talent. Performance-wise, Natalie Portman impresses, playing a quirky character with a capital Q, as does Peter Sarsgaard's heavily layered and complex performance, and Ian Holm, who, while not on screen for long, stands out as an extremely believable estranged father to Braff's Andrew Largeman. The film is also extremely funny, demonstrating a masterclass in deadpan comedy. Garden State is about life, living in the moment and dealing with the various crises that you encounter. You'll find yourself in a constant flux between laughter and weeping - the film expertly judges the mood of the moment, and touches the very core of your being. It's a film about humanity, and how life often isn't all it's cracked up to be. But it's the only life you'll ever have, so you'd better enjoy it while it lasts. It's not a particularly happy film, but it's often profound, and, rarely for what is essentially (and admittedly extremely dark) rom-com, it makes you think. Expand
  5. Aug 14, 2013
    8
    This movie isn't the funniest, the most touching, or the most realistic, yet a lovely and rememberable mixture of all three. I thought thatThis movie isn't the funniest, the most touching, or the most realistic, yet a lovely and rememberable mixture of all three. I thought that some of the scenes, especially the first scene at the house of Natalie Portman's character, were over-the-top and just didn't hit my sense of humor, but that's fine since the ones that made me smile were definitely predominant. Zach Braff proves to not only have a talent for acting, but also writing and directing and until he finally releases a new movie, we'll have to content ourselves with watching Garden State over and over again something that I am very keen on doing. Expand
  6. Dec 31, 2012
    7
    What an interesting movie this is. It shows how life is too short to worry about the small things, and be stuck with no sense of direction.What an interesting movie this is. It shows how life is too short to worry about the small things, and be stuck with no sense of direction. Among other lessons that could be learned, the main lesson is emphasized by the main characters major development throughout the movie. Good film, worth seeing. Expand
  7. FrankR.
    Sep 2, 2005
    0
    This is the worst film in the last 100 years.

See all 111 User Reviews

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