Metascore
67

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

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 216 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 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
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. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    80
    A great debut from a promising talent.
  3. Certainly Garden State is a very American specimen of debut indie form, its loose, goof-about scenes of comic melancholy reinforced with the glue of quirkiness over cracks in the narrative development.
  4. 75
    It's a hilarious and heartfelt ode to twentysomething angst. Braff has himself a winner.
  5. Small, smart, off-kilter comedy.
  6. While most movies would sink under the weight of such eccentricity, pretentiousness and earnestness, Garden State is so full of wit and the genuine heart of characters that you can't help but care about what happens to them.
  7. Mr. Braff's idea of self-discovery is my idea of narcissism.

See all 37 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 110
  2. Negative: 16 out of 110
  1. Sep 29, 2013
    10
    As someone who had the chance to meet Zach Braff and live near where he grew up, I connected with this movie because I felt like the storyline could happen to someone like me. But besides my sentiments, this was a very good movie on its own, the performances are great, and its message about adulthood shines bright. Expand
  2. 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
    movie. Garden State is one of Natalie Portman's best movies. Expand
  3. Mar 24, 2013
    10
    Extremely satisfying and depressingly hilarious, Garden State is one of the best comedy dramas ever and gives amazing performances for Natalie Portman and Zach Braff. 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 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 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. Aug 26, 2011
    8
    Garden State is a remarkably satisfying, pleasingly original take on familiar territory. Some will say it's merely The Graduate done for this generation. Fortunately, many will recognize that as a pro. Expand
  7. Nov 3, 2010
    7
    A great movie, I recommend this to almost anyone. Zach does a good job and so does Natalie. The movie introduced me to great music and I hold it in high regard for that and the fact that it's a great film all around. Expand

See all 110 User Reviews

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