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Garden State (DVD)

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Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 2003 / Director: Zach Braff / Actors: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman ... / DVD released 02 May, 2005 at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainm / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen

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    18 Reviews
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      12.10.2011 16:59
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      Quirky self searching film about a young man returning home to his mum's funeral

      I was rather intrigued to see Garden State sitting proudly in the mid 300s in Empire's 500 best films of all time, but also rather confused as I'd never heard of it and was surprised to hear that the quirky dude from Scrubs, Zach Braff, wrote, directed and starred in it. I needed no further intrigue to watch it, and when I spotted it on TV the other week, I settled down to see what was so special about it. Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a failing bit actor who receives a phonecall from his father informing him his paraplegic mother has died. Andrew sets off for home, reluctant to revisit the place he has so many bad memories from, not least with his father. When he arrives though, a chance encounter with Sam (Natalie Portman) at the doctor's makes him rethink the values in his life. The film is mainly powered around the characters, with Braff giving us a quirky look at the small new Jersey (Garden State) community he comes from. Best friend Mark (Peter Sarsgaard) is a 26 year old gravedigger, another of his friends dresses as a knight for a local restaurant, and another is a hardware store worker intent on believing that pyramid schemes are going to make him rich. They meet up with a hotel bellboy with a porn based sideline, and another friend who just happens to have recently bought a small mansion that they spend some time in. These quirky characteristics and seemingly lesser career aspirations seem to kick start Andrew into thinking about what he's doing with his own life. Keen to set things right with his father (Ian Holm) but unsure how to do so, the reasons for his mother being a paraplegic hang over them like a dark cloud, and even though the film is presented in a slightly humourous nature with larking about and eccentric conversations, drug taking, soul searching and randomness galore; you always get the feeling that something needs to be done, that Andrew just isn't happy with his lot. This is cleverly summed up by Braff in the scenes where Andrew is sitting around lost in his own self absorbed daydreams while events around him are speeded up to blurs, showing how everyone else's lives are continuing and carrying on just as normal while his is stagnant because he can't break the shackles. He spends the short trip back home avoiding his father though, and you just know that this isn't helping, no matter how much more positive Sam makes him feel about himself. Theirs is a strange romance that blossoms, accepting each other's weirdness for what it is and not assuming anything. There's a fantastic little scene where Sam shows Andrew how to have a 'unique moment', along with a nice little conversation about lying. But this is a romance unlike any other - it's as if they sort of fancy each other and something may eventually happen, but over four days it's hard for something to fully blossom. i thought the film itself wasn't anything special. It was a good exploration of the human psyche and how to come to terms with yourself, your close ones and your past, but beyond that it was just a good film. Where it stood out though was in the soundtrack. I haven't been able to hunt it down yet, but the music chosen really set the mood for each scene quite perfectly, and it's a soundtrack I'd love to get my hands on. Overall then, a decent film but nothing special. I certainly wouldn't rate it as one of the best films of all time such as Empire has done, but it's definitely one that's worth watching if you spot it on at any point.

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        22.04.2010 15:07
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        A different view of Zach Braff

        Andrew Largeman, an actor in Los Angeles, is stunned to receive a phone call from his father to say that his paraplegic mother has died after drowning in the bath. Andrew hasn't been home for ten years because of problems with his overbearing father - a psychologist who has ensured that Andrew has been on prescription drugs for a good part of his life. Going to his mother's funeral, he meets a couple of old friends and hooks up with them again. However, it is not until he bumps into Sam, a girl who is full of life, that he really begins to feel happy back at home. After his short visit, will he want to return to Los Angeles? Will he be able to come to some sort of understanding with his father? Zach Braff directed, wrote and starred in this 2004 film. I'm more used to seeing him in a completely comic role in Scrubs and wasn't really sure how this film was going to work out - it is described as a drama with comic moments. It certainly is a drama - there are some really hard-hitting moments about drug use and mental health that are quite tough to watch. However, there are also some funny moments to lighten things up a little. They aren't laugh out loud funny moments, but are more subtle moments that bring a smile to the face a few moments afterwards. I've heard it described as quirky, and I think that is probably a very good description. It is certainly more thought-provoking than your average Hollywood film and the humour adds something a bit different. Zach Braff himself was very good in the role. It is very hard to turn off from Scrubs because there is no attempt to make him look any different. Nevertheless, about half an hour into the film, I finally managed to accept that this was a different character - probably because he is a very different character. Andrew has many problems, most of which lead from a particular event in his childhood, and he is dependent on prescription drugs to get him through the day. He doesn't seem to have any proper relationships and there is a deep simmering resentment of his father than he really needs to deal with, but chooses to ignore. Braff managed to portray all of this with the minimum of words and, although he does suffer from being a bit too po-faced during the first part of the film, I think he did a great job on the whole. Natalie Portman plays Sam and again, is great in the role. Sam is unpredictable and unlike anyone Zach has ever met, yet she manages to form a bond with him like no-one else has. Portman plays the role just right - she could have taken her eccentricities and turned them into something over-the-top, but she is very natural and infinitely likable. She perhaps goes overboard with the tears towards the end of the film, but I think most people would be fine with it - I'm just not very patient with that sort of thing. I was less convinced by Peter Sarsgaard as Andrew's old friend. He's fine in the role, but he's not a very likable character and I couldn't really understand the point of having the character in the film at all. That perhaps isn't his fault, but if he had been a bit more convincing, he might have been able to carry it off. There are a couple of familiar faces that popped up throughout the course of the film. Firstly, Jim Parsons as another old friend of Andrew's. He played a character that was slightly reminiscent of his role in The Big Bang Theory - he speaks Klingon for example. He probably wouldn't have made much of an impression if it wasn't for the fact that he was so familiar. The other familiar face is Ron Leibman as Andrew's Doctor - he played Rachel's father in Friends. He's a larger than life character and I enjoyed watching him - it's just a shame he didn't have a larger role. The story is actually very basic. It's about someone with a myriad of problems that need solving and just needs a bit of a push in the right direction. There's nothing complicated about it, although it is never entirely clear in which direction the film is going. However, it never becomes boring, probably because it is a character-driven film and the characters, Sam in particular, are very lively. I enjoyed the process of watching Andrew come alive. At the beginning of the film, he is in bed, staring at the ceiling, then he spends a good deal of the first part of the film staring into space and not really interacting with everyone else. Eventually, though, he begins to change a little and it's lovely to watch. It's a very gentle story, but one that is quite life-affirming. It is, however, one that will bore some people. There is certainly not a great deal of action. There is not much that is obviously offensive in the film. The one sex scene is supposed rather than seen and there is no nudity at all. However, there is a lot of drug use, both referred to and seen. There is Andrew's prescription medication addiction and his friend has a somewhat more illegal drug problem and is seen smoking it on numerous occasions. The other thing that may offend is the slight humour that is fed into the script surrounding Andrew's mother's death - for someone who is paraplegic, or known someone who is, I imagine it could be quite upsetting. I liked the way the film was made from a visual point of view. Andrew's loneliness in the light of his problems was particularly well dealt with by portraying him sat staring into space while everyone else around him went about their business in double-time. There are also some interesting shots in a local quarry, where a couple bizarrely live in a rusting old boat that isn't in water. It isn't the most colourful of movies, but then, Andrew's life is hardly colourful and I think that it matches up nicely. I also loved the music, particularly Simon & Garfunkel's The Only Living Boy in New York, although Andrew's aunt's version of Three Times a Lady sung at his mother's funeral left a lot to be desired - deliberately though! There are a number of extras with the DVD. There's the usual audio commentary that I started listening to, but had to switch off because it was annoying - there's such a thing as too much talking. There's a collection of deleted scenes, which I enjoyed watching. They wouldn't have added anything to the film story-wise, but there was a humorous element that I really enjoyed. There's a making of documentary, which was interesting and definitely worth watching if you're a fan of the film - it shows Zach Braff in director-mode to great effect. The collection of bloopers is great fun - watch out for the dog humping scene and the Jim Parsons scenes too. Finally, there's a 'promo spot' for the soundtrack, which is probably in place of the ubiquitous trailer. Garden State didn't make all that much of a splash on release, although it has gained a lot more support as an indie film since then. I think it deserves to be better known. It isn't a flawless film by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt really honest and natural - possibly because Zach Braff has admitted there is much of his real self in the film. It is also the sort of film that could be watched again and again - not because of the story, but because there are lots of nuances that can easily be missed the first time. The subtle humour is also a draw - although it won't appeal to those who like their humour to be more obvious. I recommend giving it a go. The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99. Classification: 15 Running time: 102 minutes

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          01.04.2010 08:01
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          Lovely comedy drama

          Garden State is a wonderful film from Scrubs star Zach Braff who both wrote, directed and stared in the film alongside Natalie Portman. The film is rather quirky just like his character in Scrubs JD and it is a nice flowing story with some nice charcter development in it. It is a story of self discovery and frinedship with a nice feel good theme to it. The main character is 26 year old Andrew Largeman who is played by Brass, he is a single man living in Hollywood and trying to make it as an actor however his day job is as a waiter. He has sufferred depression in the past and is on prescription drugs, his relationship with his faher has broken down however he has to travel back to his small town home and face his father when his mother dies and he must attend the funeral. While at home he meets Sam, played by Portman, who through her strange and unconventional ways has a profound effect on Andrew as he hooks up with his former friends. I really do like ths film, some of his friends who have never left the small town are very amusing and strange in their own perculiar ways. I was really impressed with Natalie Portmans performnace which was excellent and Peter Sarsgaard is also very good as one of Andrew friends. This film is well worth seeing as it has a nice gentle plot and some strong performances in it. The comedy is quite subtle and quirky and it is a film that really sucks you into the plot.

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          01.02.2010 21:36
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          Anyone looking for a romantic comedy without cheese should check this.

          Garden State is Zach Braff's (familiar to many as JD out of Scrubs) first venture into movies. Not only is he the lead actor in this movie, but he also wrote and directed it. Any fans of him will therefore be fascinated to see what he's put together. The result is an original, quirky, and cool romantic comedy - not like the cheese fests we're used to from Hollywood, but instead thought out, and appealing to teenagers and twenty somethings of both sexes. The story surrounds Andrew (Braff), a failed actor living in LA, returning to his home town in New Jersey upon learning of the death of his Mother. It quickly becomes apparent that he feels nothing, and has suffered from depression for many years. He therefore feels numb despite his great loss. Unsurprisingly, he meets a girl, in the form of Natalie Portman, who teaches him to feel again with many charming and humerous moments along the way. It is a coming of age story, but for the ever so slightly older generation of mid-twenty somethings without direction. All of Andrew's friends are directionless too. Some have made money, some remain at home. None really know what they want to do, and so drink their nights away and get high. It is about finding love, but it's about more than that. Natalie Portman's character can be quite annoying, but overall she fits the part well. Overall I would say it's not an outstanding movie, or even a modern great - but it is rather pleasant and interesting.

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            31.12.2009 17:49
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            Super performances

            This film is writte and directed by Zach Braff who is JD in Scrubs, he also stars in the film which is a sometimes quirky but rather enjoyable little drama about a man returning home and finding himself. Braff plays Andrew Largeman who is a 26 year old singleton living in Los Angeles trying to make it as an actor and like many actors his real job is as a waiter. He also has a prescription drug addition and is rather drifting through life when he receives the news that his mother has died and he must return home to attend the funeral and meet his estranged father to whome he has not spoken to for many years. While at home he catches up with his weird former friends however it is a young girl called Sam played by Natalie Portman in an excellent performance who is the one that brings the changes to his life and in fact brings him back to life in many ways. This film is full of some really quirky characters and at times it takes on a slightly surreal feel to it but it is also a heart warming little story with some excellent performances. The supporting cast are excellent especially Portman and it is testament to Braff skill as a director and writer that while the story is about his character it is the other roles that are the more lively and interesting. Peter Sarsgaard is also very good as Andrew gravedigger friend. Garden State tells an excellent simple story, it has a few amusing moments but I think it is more drama than comedy and a super little film that is well worth watching.

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            02.12.2009 20:27
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            Up itself too much but still decent

            note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room Garden State is just the type of independent film that I am wary of; it is 2003's answer to Juno, an indie film drums up a small amount of rabid fanfare, but it also imbued with an irksome level of self-conscious quirkiness that is fairly pompous in its delivery, and as such will appeal to egotistical "indie kids" as such. Nevertheless, the central story, despite its contrivances, is a sweet and charming tale in the vein of The Graduate, and benefits a lot from Zach Braff, who wrote, directed, and starred in this film about life, death, love, and the relationships that bind us. The protagonist is Andrew Largeman (Braff), a youngster who is working out what he wants out of life, when he gets a phone call informing him that his mother has died. He returns home to New Jersey for the funeral, meeting up with some old friends and getting wasted to try and forget about what he has endured. However, when he goes to the doctor's office for a check up about some head aches, he meets Sam (Natalie Portman), a cute girl who also happens to be a compulsive liar, and so the two form a sort of odd-couple scenario, developing a budding romance alongside their unlikely friendship. However, whether it has staying power depends on whether their neuroses can co-exist, as well as whether their various life plans can comprimise. Criminally overrated by "indie kids" for its pop-indie soundtrack and self-conscious quirkiness (one scene when Braff bangs on about The Shins is particularly cringe-worthy), Garden State is nevertheless a sweet tale that sometimes borders on pretentiousness, but never quite teeters over the edge.

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            23.06.2009 13:17
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            Great film everyone should see

            If your into your indie films, something a little bit different and slightly strange. This film could well be for you. Garden State came out five years ago back in 2004. Directed by and staring Zach Braff (of scrubs fame) the story tells of a young man returning to his home town for his mothers funeral. The lead character Andrew Largeman played by Braff basically goes on a voyage of self discovery. He meets up with some of his old friends, makes some new ones, and meets a girl. Sam played brilliantly by the charming Natalie Portman makes a big impact on his life and changes the way he views things. There is no real storyline to the film, it just meanders along nicely. Nothing spectacular happens but even so, the story is told really nicely. One of the films strong points is the soundtrack. It's one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard on a film. Some of the songs are just so beautiful, I now enjoy many of the bands I was introduced to on this film. Bands like Coldplay, The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel, and Nick Drake just to name a few are on the soundtrack. This is quite a moving film, there are some points that really make me feel emotional, but at the same time there are some wonderful comedy moments that really make me laugh. The music goes so well with the events in the film and really make it move along well. The film runs for 102 minutes, which feels just about right for this kind of film. The story keeps you interested and there is plenty going on to keep you involved. It's rated as a 15. There is some strong language, some nudity and quite a bit of drug use in involved, so this is not a film for children or those easily offended. At the same time there is nothing to serious and if your not offended by language you should be ok with this film. The DVD itself is nothing special. Few features such as trailers etc.. But really it's all about the film itself, as it should be! So overall this is a wonderful feel good film. It has some really nice moments in it, and even if you don't enjoy the film you should love the soundtrack. This is the perfect film for a quiet night in with a bottle of wine. Have a look!

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              16.03.2009 18:50
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              A quirky love story set to an awesome sound track!

              This is one of my favourite movies ever! I rarely watch a film more than once, but I have watched this film loads of times! This is a quirky love story everyone can enjoy! Playing the character Andrew, not only does Zach Braff (from Scrubs) star in the film he wrote and directed it too! The story is enchanting, but it's the characters that make it! Sam, played by Natalie Portman is particularly easy to warm too with her unique sense of humour and optimistic outlook on life. For those of us who appreciate a good tune, the sound track suits the film perfectly too, and is well worth purchasing also. Featuring bands such as The Shins and singers such as Colin Hay, I enjoyed the sound track to the film and so did my dad! My only criticism would be that the ending is a bit predictable. Watch this film if you need cheering up, it will remind you what's important in life!

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                07.03.2009 16:05
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                A film you should watch at least once in your life

                Garden State is one of my favourite movies and I will definitely purchase the Blu Ray when it is released. It is a Drama about a lithium medicated actor named Andrew Largemen (Zach Braff). Braff both directs and stars in this genius film. It doesn't really have a beginning, middle and end like you normally expect, but in terms of Largemen's life, there definitely is a sense of achievement, as he changes so much, in a space of a few days. My favourite part of the movie is actually the very start. Andrew is on a plane experiencing turblance and is just sitting there dazed, mind blank. The background music is questionable, but seems to work for some bizarre reason. I think Garden State is a movie everyone can relate to. That feeling of floating through life, not being sure about where you should be, is presented strongly throughout the movie and only at the end does Andrew start to understand his life more. If you are majorly into action movies, with special efftects and over used violence then maybe this won't cut it for you, but if you want to watch a movie with real meaning and genius directing, with an amazing script then give this a go.

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                  26.01.2009 15:30
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                  Wonderful, warming film

                  Being a fan of Scrubs I watched this purely for the Zach Braff link, I can honestly say I was not expecting anything with the depth and appeal of this and so it was a wholly pleasent surprise. Its not to say that I dont think Braff is talented, I think he is great in Scrubs but its hardly the most intellectually challenging of programmes/roles, I knew that he had tried his hand at directing a few episodes and had had involvement in the soundtrack at times but with Garden State this really did seem to be the next stage in his devlopment as an actor and behind the scenes. This isnt one of those films where major events shape the plot and drive the story, its basically a journey for the principle character Andrew Largeman (Braff) in learning about himself and considering where he might be headed against where he came from. The film chronicles his visit back to New Jersey following the death of his mother and shows how he interacts with old acquaintances and considers how they have changed and progressed since high school. The intertwined love story element with Natalie Portman's character Sam is sweet to watch develop and I really liked the way she played the role, quirky, cool and interesting. By the end of the film you do have a feeling that something major has shifted for Largeman, its a positive ending even though it doesnt really let on what might happen next. Braff's love of good indie music is evident from the soundtrack here (which won a Grammy in its own right) featuring such amazingly fitting songs from The Shins, Cary Brothers and Coldplay amongst others. The way the songs are interwoven with the plot shows an adept matching of moods, it works very well indeed and reflects his passion for the music as much as his skill in this area. A really enjoyable and interesting film.

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                    16.12.2008 19:10
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                    A gem of a movie

                    Zach braff plays and depressed man who doesnt know where his life is going. He goes back home to his mothers funeral, spends some time with his father. There relationship is very strained and finds him self in a girl. That sums up the plot of the movie but its the way it is executed on screen that makes this a must see. It isnt you simple romance film, it is awkward and so real it jumps out at you. Zach braff's character is wonderfully played, you can see he is bored of his life and his portrayel is impressive. The moments where he speaks with his father plaed by ian holm are odd but funny and tragic at the same time. They can never really connect. he goes to the doctors in his home town where he meets natalie portman who plays a compulsive liar who find's it hard to tell the truth but seems herself around him. gradually they learn a lot about eachother and fall in love. The characters in this film are wonderfull and have lot of quirks. The music is also well chose for the film and adds a lot of great moments. Points to zach braff for writing and directing this movie. He shows great potential for future projects. This film is certainly woth the watch

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                      03.12.2008 15:49
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                      Zach Braff goes home to find himself and put old demons to rest

                      Lovely, original film starring Zach Braff as a wannabe actor Andrew Largeman returning to his small-town home after the death of his mother. He's been depressed for years, and medicated by his totally screwed-up and up-tight psychiatrist father (Ian Holm) with whom he has a difficult relationship to put it mildly. While back he bumps into Sam (Natalie Portman), an off-the-wall girl. They connect immediately and spend a lot of the next few days together. Large's schoolfriend (Peter Sarsgaard) adds his laid-back but frustrated contributions into the mix. Eventually we find out just why Large has been on prescription meds since childhood, what happened with his mother, and why his relationship with his father is such a mess. The incidents in the film don't sound much - playing spin the bottle, getting high at a party and swimming in the pool - but they're beautifully invested with emotional significance. Portman is a joy, and Braff makes the initially rather difficult and unlikeable Large slowly open out. My only criticisms are that it does seem at times a little unnecessarily quirky and uber-indy, and that the otherwise fantastic soundtrack (up The Shins!) includes the totally rubbish Coldplay (please retire, Chris Martin). But that's a small price to pay I guess!

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                        23.11.2008 00:58
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                        Garden State is Excellent

                        I absolutely loved this witty, intriguing, and extremely interesting film. It is rather strange and has some very weird scenes, but the strangeness that it has is one of my favorite aspects of this movie. Zack Braff, from Scrubs, and Natalie Portman do an excellent job playing their colorful characters in this entertaining movie. This is definitely one of my favorites and I highly encourage you to rent or buy it and watch it immediately if you have not already seen this fantastic film. The main characters in this movie is Andrew, played by Braff. Andrew who has been emotionally stunted for years ever since he started taking anti-depressants. has been trying to make it as an actor in L.A. for many years now. When he returns home after being away for over 9 years for his mother's funeral he makes it a point to avoid his emotionally unavailable psychiatrist father who prescribe Andrew his pills in order to keep his emotions bottled up, played by Ian Holm, and picks up with a few of his old friends who take him out to some parties. One day Andrew decides that he is going to stop taking the anti-depressants that have been locking away his emotions for far too long now. Once he is off the medication his life seems to have meaning again. He meets Natalie Portman's character, Sam, who has epilepsy and is forced to wear a helmet every where she goes. Sam is a very interesting and colorful character that intrigues Andrew. The rest of the movie consists of Andrew finally opening up to life and enjoying the emotions that he has been missing for so long while getting to know this intriguing girl that has come into his life. Sam and Andrew are absolutely adorable together as they embark on different adventures in this highly entertaining and award worthy film. I was very impressed with this movie and I plan on watching it for years to come.

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                        21.05.2008 20:18
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                        Natalie Portman is the helpless lyer, who falls for the misunderstood Andrew Largeman, played by the

                        I actually love this Film! Natalie Portman is the helpless lyer, who falls for the misunderstood Andrew Largeman, played by the excellent Zach Braff. The story explores the idea of not only love but being able to move on in life after a terrible experience, and is accompanied by an equally awsome soundtrack that is just the icing on the cake. The film has moments to cry, to laugh, and to smile! I would say it was possibly the best film i have ever seen, the combination of a touching and clever script with interesting diologue and highly talented actors makes a cracking duo that you can experience over and over again without getting tired of it! It is literally a feast for the eyes with clever and realistic scenes that in some shape or form enable you to relate to the characters. I would deffinatly recommend this film, no matter what age (apart from under 15's!) nor what gender you are! And i guarantee it will not dissapoint!

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                          20.04.2008 00:01
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                          Braff can do no wrong

                          Andrew Largeman is an aspiring actor living in Los Angeles, famed for playing a retarded quarterback. He has been estranged from his family for many years, after an incident which made him pursue a career outside of New Jersey (the Garden State of the title). He has been on mind controlling drugs for many years, a course of action thought best by both his doctor and psychiatrist father Gideon. His mother's death brings him back to his home state for the first time in nine years. He also decides to use it as an opportunity to lay off the drugs for a while, to see what difference it makes, if any at all. He has also been suffering some headaches like smalll lightning strikes. His visit home brings him into contact with some old familiar faces who have found themselves in bizarre situations due to their work, providing a lot of funny moments. His friend Mark is a gravedigger and he is involved in a scene where the typical audience reaction is to gasp! He hangs out at some parties with them that bore him rigid, as they haven't changed one bit. Largeman needs something new in his life. He meets Sam for the first time in a clinic waiting room, as she laughs at a dog humping his leg! They get talking, and she shares a song with him. "Listen to this song, it will change your life". They haven't properly met yet, but they are about to go on a journey of redemption together. Sam turns out to have some hang ups of her own, and they discover how much in common they actually have. They hold a truly touching funeral for Sam's dead hamster in her outdoor pet cemetery. More touching than it should ever have been humanly possible to present, especially as the hamster doesn't look real when her mother so callously hands it over. It is here that Sam finds out Andrew's true purpose of being there. As hard as he tries, Largeman may not be able to avoid the all too inevitable head on collision with his father who has always blamed him for what happened so many years ago. At the end, Andrew Largeman has to make a life changing decision which could have been a similar scenario that he had nine years previous. Can he really wimp out of the situation again just as he did back then? Garden State is a touching comedy drama with the right mix of pathos to keep the average viewer happy. Cast:- Zach Braff (Scrubs) - Andrew Largeman Natalie Portman (Star Wars, V for Vendetta) - Sam Ian Holm (Lord Of The Rings) - Gideon Largeman Peter Sarsgaard (Boys Don't Cry) - Mark Hip hop fans should also watch out for a laugh out loud cameo from Method Man from the Wu Tang Clan. Directed and written by Zach Braff. Braff surprises with his first feature. Being a fan of Scrubs, you would expect his name next to a comedy to present goofy, zany antics ala Jim Carrey. I was way off the mark (so don't be put off if you can't stand that show). I really wasn't ready for a film so full of clever techniques, charm, heart, and full of layers and layers of depth. Some of the intricate detail can only be picked up with a second viewing, such as the running taps in JFK airport and the rubber band that Portman plays with in an effort to create continuity! Braff was also responsible for a fantastic accompanying soundtrack which I own on CD. I enjoyed finding out that the first piece of music in the film was taken from his own brother's 'Ganesha the elephant god alarm clock!' His writing is also spot on. The script is full of one liners and wit. Braff has used a lot of stories that he's picked up during his own life, and intersperses them with great effect through the eyes of Andrew Largeman. He talks about characters that you've never met, but you feel like you know them so well. I think that anyone in their twenties will definitely be able to relate to the issues that are pushed forward here. It speaks for our generation. I particularly relate to it so well, as I get the same feelings whenever I go back to where I was brought up. Not that anything so devastating has ever happened in my life. The cast are all superb, especially the leads who are adorable together. Knowing the character so well, Braff pulls off a more subdued character carrying immense heartache, with complete ease. Whilst he is great, it is Portman who steals the show making you fall instantly in love with her character. It is perfect casting as she plays a quirky, indie girl who has uniquely strong views such as, "Sidecars are for bitches; anyone who rides in that automatically becomes your bitch!" She is one of my favourite actresses, and I think that this ranks alongside Leon as one of her very best performances. Some of the extras in the film are from Braff's immediate family, and there are a couple of small roles for those who helped him get his first job in acting, so as to return the favour. A lot of the funniest moments come from the relationship between Portman and Braff, but there are also moments you may miss from the first viewing. One such involves a shirt given to Braff as a present, which is identical to the wallpaper in the background. Official selection at Sundance Film Festival 2005, Los Angeles Film Festival 2005, and U.S. Comedy Arts Festival 2005 Running time is 98 minutes Rated 15 (contains drug use, language and sexual references) Extras:- Feature commentary from Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. Feature commentary from Zach Braff, director of photography Lawrence Sher, editor Myron Kerstein and production designer Judy Becker 16 deleted scenes Making of Garden State Outtakes/Bloopers Soundtrack promo spot The extras really add a valuable bonus to the DVD purchase. Being such a fan of Portman and Braff, I sat through their audio commentary which I don't normally do. They kept it funny and entertaining, and give valuable insight. I now know that 'I heart Newark' t-shirts are no longer readily available! As previously mentioned, the promo spot for the soundtrack is worth taking a look at if you enjoyed the music throughout the movie. It includes a couple of songs by The Shins, Braff's favourite band, and also said band that Portman introduces as one which will change your life. The Making of Garden State is a 27 minute feature on set in New Jersey. There are also some funny clips amongst the other outtakes. Currently on sale at Amazon for £4.98. Buy this movie! A truly wonderful, uplifting, life-affirming experience. One of my favourite films of all time and close to perfection. Definitely one of the greatestst films of the noughties. *This review will also be posted on ciao

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                        • Product Details

                          Zach Braff (from the TV show Scrubs) stars in his writing/directing debut, Garden State--normally a doomed act of hubris, but Braff pulls it off with unassuming charm. An emotionally numb actor in L.A., Andrew (Braff) comes back to New Jersey after nine years away for his mother's funeral. Andrew avoids his bitter father (Ian Holm) and joins old friends (including the superb Peter Sarsgaard) in a round of parties. Along the way he meets a girl (Natalie Portman) with demons of her own; bit by bit the two offer each other a little healing. Plotwise, Garden State is familiar stuff, a cross between The Graduate and a Meg Ryan movie, but Braff has an eye for goofy but resonant visual images, an ear for lively dialogue, and a great cast. The result is surprisingly fresh and funny. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com