Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Film Review: GARDEN STATE (2004)

Garden State poster Writer/Director: Zach Braff
Running time: 102 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 10th December 2004

Watched on Sky+ Monday 12th September 2011.


I really did not no much about this film before seeing it, well, I probably did know that Zach Braff (of TV’s ‘Scrubs’ fame) both wrote and directed it. I watched it on a recommendation from someone on Rotten Tomatoes, sorry, I can’t remember who, but rest assured, it’s another one crossed off ‘The List’. I found it very interesting, a little surreal in places, quite enjoyable, but in the end, not as fulfilling as I had expected. I’ll explain more after this brief summary.

GS-1 Andrew Largeman, a failed actor has had to return to the small town he grew up after the sudden death of his mother. He has anxiety problems and usually takes quite a lot of medication, but he has left all that behind in L.A. He runs into quite a few of his old friends from school, primarily Mark, Dave and Kenny, and they all hang out together, go to parties and the like. During a visit to a doctor, Andrew meets Sam and they immediately hit it off. He gives her a lift home and they end up spending the next few days together. This seems to bring Andrew back to life, but it’s nearing the time he has to leave… I’ll stop there or the Spoiler Police will have me bang to rights! And I don’t want that.

GS-4 I must first say the film has a cracking soundtrack, there are some great tunes throughout. All the performances were very good; Zach Braff as Andrew Largeman, Natalie Portman, who I thought was excellent, as Sam, Peter Sarsgaard as Mark, Alex Burns as Dave, Michael Weston as Kenny, Ian Holm as Andrew’s father, Gideon Largeman. Finally a mention for a brief appearance from Jim Parsons (‘The Big Bang Theory’) as Tim.

GS-2 The film has a very muted feel to it which was fine at first, it allowed for small pieces of comic genius to flower, but after a while I began to find it a little depressing. Braff plays Largeman so downbeat from the beginning that by the end when you’re supposed to be uplifted, you’re still down somewhere near the floor. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things to admire about this film and I did enjoy several aspects of it. I think I’ll have to see it again sometime to appreciate it properly but for now… Recommended (but only just).

My Score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 7.8/10 (based on 104,531 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86/100 (based on 185 reviews counted at the time of going to press).


If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:


Sam: Hey, I recognize you.
Andrew Largeman: Oh, did you go to Columbia High?
Sam: No, not from high school, from TV. Didn't you play the retarded quarterback?
Andrew Largeman: Yeah.
Sam: Are you really retarded?
Andrew Largeman: No.
Sam: Ooh, great job man! I really thought you were retarded. I mean, you're better than that Corky kid and he's actually retarded. If there was a retarded Oscar you would win, hands down, kick his ass!

Titembay: Someone has been pissing on my Gamecube and I'm about to close the case.



AdamMoody said...

Fantastic review, Andy. I have heard great things about this film, and it sounds very good, but it is nice to hear something other than endless praise about it.

Aditya Gokhale said...

Superb review dude!!
From what you have written about the film, I do want to check it out in spite of your average rating.

Thanks for the review!