Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
|Featuring:||Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange|
|Producer:||Jim Jarmusch, Jean Labadie, Stacey Smith|
“Sometimes life brings some strange surprises.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “The resolutely single Don Johnson has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don yet again resigns himself to being alone and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this “mystery” by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston, an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present.”
While it seems that flowers are more likely to wilt than to break, the idea that the new Jim Jarmusch film shows is the fragility of one of the most important things in life: relationships. “Broken Flowers” is an artistic, fictional tale exploring one man’s confrontation with his past—revisiting those he once knew intimately, while in search of a child he has never met.
Don Johnston (Bill Murray) receives an unsigned letter from a former girlfriend telling him he has a nineteen-year-old son he was never told about. While his current girlfriend, Sherry (Julie Delpy), is in the midst of leaving him, this “Don Juan” bachelor gets some counsel from his mystery novel-loving neighbor Winston (Jeffrey Wright) to go and find his newly realized off-spring. After Winston assembles the vital stats on the former ladies who could have sent him this anonymous letter, Don reluctantly ventures out to visit them all and find out which one is the mother.
There is some objectionable content throughout the course of this movie, mainly dealing with foul language and nudity. The f-word is used various times and one scene entails a young girl appearing completely nude. Another scene also implies that Don and one of his former flames sleep together. Don has clearly led a promiscuous lifestyle, but this story does not glamorize the choices he has made.
One of the most admirable aspects to Jim Jarmusch’s films is the lack of pretentious filmmaking. Jarmusch is very deliberate and focuses on the things that are most important, namely story and character. While Broken Flowers is a somewhat simple production, Jarmusch has spared no expense in finding the best talent to tell this tale. He even uses Julie Delpy and Chloë Sevigny for just minor parts, but their appearances are in no wise throwaway. They make even their brief moments something meaningful and poignant.
The tone of this story is serious overall and deals with a lot of pathos. Perhaps because the sadness is so strong, it was easy to play against it and create lots of humor throughout. Bill Murray’s deadpan expression helps with this. Overall, it is a drama and leaves you feeling more reflective at the end, but it also provides many moments for you to laugh out loud.
“Broken Flowers” is independent filmmaking at its finest. It is an interesting story with well-written, thought-out characters. It isn’t perfect, but if you are looking for something a little different, this could be worth your while.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/nudity: Moderate
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