''Garden State'' is a 2004 film written, directed by and starring Creator/ZachBraff (''Series/{{Scrubs}}''), who also stars along with Creator/NataliePortman, Creator/PeterSarsgaard, and Creator/IanHolm.

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 [[ShoutOut allusions]] to the similar coming-of-age film ''Film/TheGraduate'' (1967), most notably the opening airplane scene that both pictures share.

''Garden State'' was well received, and is considered a major success for 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.

!! This film provides examples of:

* AbusiveParents: [[spoiler:Andrew's father tries to destroy his mind with unnecessary psychiatric drugs as punishment for accidentally crippling his mother.]]
* AloneInACrowd: Largeman is spaced out on the couch while the rest of the party is a BingeMontage going on all around him.
** Later he and Sam talk to each other at the other end of the pool while everyone else is swimming.
* ApologisesALot: Sam tends to apologize for her quirks or anything really in fear of freaking Andrew out. He even mocks her for this at one point.
* BathtubBonding: Andrew and Sam, albeit without water in the tub.
* BigDamnKiss
* BlackComedy: Definitely. Some of the darkest, {{squick}}iest clips were cut from the theatrical release, but they're available on the DVD.
* BoyMeetsGirl
* CandlelitBath
* ClifftopCaterwauling: One of the most well known scenes of the film has Andrew, Sam and Mark climbing on an abandoned crane and scream into a chasm.
* CoolBike: Largeman's WWII bike and [[CoolSidecar sidecar]].
* DoubleMeaningTitle: It can refer to a popular nickname for New Jersey, or to the emotionless, static state of Large's life since he went on his medication.
* DreamSequence: Opens with one.
* DysfunctionalFamily
* [[EmotionlessGirl Emotionless Guy]]: Andrew Largeman. He gradually opens up during the course of the film because he's finally off his psychiatric medications and because he meets [[ManicPixieDreamGirl Sam]].
* FanService: The pool scene with multiple girls (including Sam) swimming around in their underwear.
* TheFunInFuneral: A mild example.
* GilliganCut: In the rain.
* GroinAttack: Sam claims this to be her preferred (and regular) method of dealing with her three misbehaving dogs, and given her personality we really don't have much reason to disbelieve her.
* InventorOfTheMundane: One of Zach Braff's friends invented "silent velcro" and became a multi-millionaire. He now spends his time driving golf-carts around his mansion.
* ItAlwaysRainsAtFunerals: It was actually raining the day of the shoot, but they had trouble getting the rain to show up on the film.
* {{Joisey}}: The title is a nickname.
* LeavingYouToFindMyself: Andrew's explanation why he has to leave Sam at the end.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Sam. Certainly not the UrExample, but one of the most famous examples.
* MeetCute: Sam and Andrew at the doctor's office. A dog is humping his leg and Andrew asks what he should do. Sam tells him to kick the dog in the balls.
* NerdsSpeakKlingon:Mark is displeased to see that his [[ParentWithNewParamour mother has a new boyfriend]], Tim. It doesn’t help that he wears knight armour and speaks Klingon. The best part is that Tim was played by Creator/JimParsons, a.k.a. [[Series/TheBigBangTheory Sheldon]].
-->'''Mark's Mom''': Don't be shy, Tim, tell them what you said to me last night.\\
'''Tim''': No...\\
'''Mark''': Tell us what you said to her last night!\\
'''Tim''': (''Speaks Klingon'')\\
'''Mark''': You have got to be kidding me.\\
'''Mark's Mom''': It means "[[TooMuchInformation I like to mate after battle.]]"\\
'''Tim''': That isn't what I said.\\
'''Mark's Mom''': Yeah...\\
'''Tim''': NO, that isn't the one I said! This one means "Kill Kirk".... and also, "hallelujah", depending on the context...
* NiceGuy: Andrew Largeman.
* RedemptionInTheRain
* RomanticComedy
* RuleOfFunny: Large's argument with the customer at the restaurant probably wouldn't come up in RealLife. Vietnamese restaurants are actually far more likely to serve bread than most other Asian restaurants; Vietnam was a protectorate of France for over a century, so its cuisine has a very strong French slant, and baguettes are frequently eaten there.
* ShoutOut: To ''Film/TheGraduate'', but to plenty of other things as well.
* SpinTheBottle
* SpiritualSuccessor: If ''Garden State'' went one state over, it would be called ''Film/{{Adventureland}}''.
** Braff made a proper SpiritualSuccessor called ''Wish I Was Here''
* TimePassesMontage: During the party, a montage shows Andrew sitting on the couch while everything around him happens Fast Forward.
* TomboyishName: Sam.
* WallpaperCamouflage: Andrew's new shirt which has the same pattern as the bathroom wallpaper.
* WrongfullyAttributed: An in-universe half-example, there's a scene where Andrew's friend Jesse mentions ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'' and attributes it to Aldous [[Series/TheCosbyShow Huxtable]] rather than Huxley.