User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 254 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 254

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  1. 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. 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.
  2. 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.
  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 movie. Garden State is one of Natalie Portman's best movies.
  4. 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 Natalie Portman's best movies.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 theThe 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
  7. 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.
  8. Dec 11, 2011
    9
    Garden State is charming, raw, emotional and even a little bit weird. However most of all, it is a brilliant love story of two incredibly damaged individuals as they learn what they really want from their lives over the space of a 3 day weekend. Garden State is the story of Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), Large to his friends, who returns home from LA for his mothers funeral and reunitesGarden State is charming, raw, emotional and even a little bit weird. However most of all, it is a brilliant love story of two incredibly damaged individuals as they learn what they really want from their lives over the space of a 3 day weekend. Garden State is the story of Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), Large to his friends, who returns home from LA for his mothers funeral and reunites with his estranged father and his childhood friends. He also meets Sam (Natalie Portman) a beautiful girl who just so happens to be a compulsive liar.
    Both Large and Sam go on some bizarre adventures along with Large's old friend Mark (Peter Sarsgaard)
    The best part of Garden State is the feel of it. Its perfectly crafted tone is one of optimism despite the darkness of the subject matter. For a first time director and writer (Zach Braff too) its thoroughly impressive because the film never loses focus, it has a tender loving feel to it, with the soundtrack being perfectly suited to it.
    The acting is great with Braff bringing out the best in himself and his other two leads. Portman gives a quirky yet nuanced portrayal of a girl who got dealt a bad hand in life while Sarsgaard gives his character gravitas while bringing out the loyalty of the character. It's really a special movie. Something well worth seeing even if you don't like romance movies because its so much more.
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  9. Sep 6, 2012
    7
    Such acclaim and gushing on this movie, I had to watch it. And, "quirky" story telling is a good way to describe the rather macabre themes. Which makes light of the subject, which may be good, or bad. I found the movie worth a few chuckles but found myself more so trying to understand this movie was going. ANd, after watching it I am still not sure what the point was other than "accepting"Such acclaim and gushing on this movie, I had to watch it. And, "quirky" story telling is a good way to describe the rather macabre themes. Which makes light of the subject, which may be good, or bad. I found the movie worth a few chuckles but found myself more so trying to understand this movie was going. ANd, after watching it I am still not sure what the point was other than "accepting" or "moving on." I don't think I will keep it in my movie collection tho.' And if you don't like Zach's "acting" style (i.e. Scrubs) you won't much like this flick either. Expand
  10. Jul 7, 2012
    10
    simply a must see movie, zach braffs acting is phenominal, the general feel and brilliant timing of the movie makes it a movie you must see before you die, simply awesome.
  11. 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 notThis 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
  12. Nov 28, 2012
    7
    Zach Braff directs and stars in the 2004 dramedy "Garden State". The movie follows the story of a a 26-year-old actor/waiter (Braff) who returns to his hometown in New Jersey after his mother dies. First off, for a first-time attempt at directing a film, Zach Braff does an incredible job. I found the majority of this film to be entertaining. One of the best aspects of the film, is itsZach Braff directs and stars in the 2004 dramedy "Garden State". The movie follows the story of a a 26-year-old actor/waiter (Braff) who returns to his hometown in New Jersey after his mother dies. First off, for a first-time attempt at directing a film, Zach Braff does an incredible job. I found the majority of this film to be entertaining. One of the best aspects of the film, is its really clever screenplay written, of course, by Braff. It features a lot of real witty and endearing dialogue between characters. Which brings me to another great aspect of the film - the performances. I found pretty much every performance in the film to be very very well done. Braff does a really great job of depicting what a person would be like if they've been taking lithium carbonate for most of their life. I also found Natalie Portman's portrayal of Sam to be adorable. Whenever her and Braff are interacting on screen their chemistry is just palpable. The film also features a very great licensed soundtrack. In the end, I found Zach Braff's "Garden State" to be a very intelligent romantic comedy that doubles as a very effective mood piece. Expand
  13. 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.
  14. Aug 28, 2014
    8
    A lot of people would say that this movie is their favorite. For me, this movie is neither perfect nor okay, it was brilliant. It's no wonder why this movie received cult following.

    The humor of the movie is funny and charming in its own way without being forced nor trying too hard to be funny. It attributes to Zach Braff's sense of humor in the script. The direction is so top-notch
    A lot of people would say that this movie is their favorite. For me, this movie is neither perfect nor okay, it was brilliant. It's no wonder why this movie received cult following.

    The humor of the movie is funny and charming in its own way without being forced nor trying too hard to be funny. It attributes to Zach Braff's sense of humor in the script.

    The direction is so top-notch for a debut directorial film and the cinematography is so beautiful in this movie. It took my breathe away.

    The cast performances from Zach Braff and Natelie Portman were charming and the characters they played are so relatable that you want to be friends with them.

    I thought the movie had no plot until the end of the movie. The themes in the movie and the message the movie wanted to deliver were very thought-provoking for a comedy-drama movie. I guess this might be the reason why this movie is so loved by many people.

    I think the best part of this movie was the soundtrack. The songs played during the movie were excellent and I loved how "Don't Panic" by Coldplay and "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon & Garfunkel is played. Zach Braff has good music taste.

    While I wouldn't consider this as one of my top favorite movies I have seen, Garden State is an excellent movie from Zach Braff that I want to see it again.
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Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 67
    Zach Braff has come up with a charming, funny, melancholy ode to twentysomething angst.