Garden State

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Garden State is a 2004 film written, directed by and starring Zach Braff, with Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and co-starring Sir Ian Holm. The film centers on Andrew Largeman (Braff), a 26-year-old actor/waiter who has been living in a catatonic emotional state. Since he was ten, he has been kept on at least one form of the drug lithium. After receiving a phone call from his dad, with whom he has not spoken in a long time, Andrew returns to his hometown in New Jersey upon finding out his paraplegic mother drowned in the bath. Visiting the place where he grew up, he soon meets Sam (Portman), the girl that brings him out of his shell. The title alludes both to the nickname for New Jersey and to lines from Andrew Marvell's poem "The Garden" ("Such was that happy garden-state,/ While man there walked without a mate").

It was filmed over 25 days in April and May 2003 and released on July 28, 2004. The main setting and primary shooting location was New Jersey. It was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. The film won Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film contains many allusions to the similar coming-of-age film The Graduate (1967), most notably the opening airplane scene that both pictures share.

Garden State was well received, and is considered a major success for Scrubs actor Zach Braff, as it was his feature film debut as a director. Lacking the publicity machine of most mainstream Hollywood films, it generated a devoted fan base from people who read and responded to Braff's blog on the film's official site. Fans drove hours to see the film and saw it repeatedly in theaters. The film also spawned a popular soundtrack for which Braff, who picked the music himself, won a Grammy award.

Tropes used in Garden State include: