Garden State Review

Sometimes a movie that comes out isn’t a blockbuster, thus gets no notice. In 2004 Garden State launched featuring actor Zach Braff, writer Zach Braff and yes… director Zach Braff, school play all over again. Anyway it featured in many movie festivals and promises to be different from the run-of-the-mill. Here’s a review of Garden State – the movie.


Andrew (Zach Braff) is a troubled young adult who has moved to LA to make it big, instead he works at a restaurant and hasn’t spoken to his mother since the departure many years ago. One day he receives a telephone call explaining he needs to come home to visit his mom’s funeral. He does, albeit with some grudge, and meets all his childhood friends. Andrew also meets a girl in New Jersey called Sam (Natalie Portman). Garden state is about the mental growth of med-heavy Andrew as he deals with childhood’s past and finds love.

The story is very good and goes deep as proven by the lengthy dialogue scenes. It’s genuinely interesting and catching to see Andrew evolve together with the interesting characters by his side. One problem I noticed was with character Sam, she seems a bit too Disney to me. It’s almost as if she’s perfect and exists just for the sake of uplifting main character Andrew. Nevertheless garden state isn’t your typical Hollywood blockbuster, instead it’s a humble story close to real life, featuring -almost real- people, problems included.

Comedy fueled by drama

Garden state is a comedy by heart, but again fails to fit the current. Instead most funny moments come from the back of dramatic and awkward moments, much like real. This prevents the movie from falling into a depthless pit of laughter. Because honestly this film tackles real world problems and scenarios and reminds us that change comes from within, but not in a pixar way.


Garden state comes bundled with two audio tracks of Zach Braff and fellow actors/producers. It’s good content and worth a watch to understand the issues that come with making a film like garden state. For the more visual oriented viewers, garden state includes a 26 minute making-of feature, again definitely worth a watch. Finally some bloopers and 16 (!) included deleted scenes. All in all, Garden State is a chunky DVD despite its low budget production.
The image quality is average is average and doesn’t make the jump to HD too well. The DVD version has some weird color tints in some of the scenes, although this could be intentional. While in the HD version, noise kicks in at almost all the scenes. Not worth buying in the latest definition to say the least.

Sound wise it enables 5.1 channels but without really needing it as there’re no explosions or crazy stuff happening in this romantic comedy. It does help to display the excellent soundtrack, which is among the best I’ve ever heard ever. Every song fits the movie well and is relatively unknown, indie at its finest.


Garden state is one of my favorite movies, not in part thanks to the realistic storyline and characters. In most movies you kind of feel like the creators spent hours thinking about that amazing one-liner for super-actor-man to deliver, not in garden state. This is a good ride into the psychy of people delivered in a bubbly way, with some jokes to seal the deal.

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