Broken Flowers Reviews
The film focuses on an aging "Don Juan" who embarks on a cross-country journey to track down four of his former lovers after receiving an anonymous letter stating that he has a son.
A carefully constructed but also indulgent film. It's a mix of the symbolically heavy Punch Drunk Love and the inexplicable metaphor of Mulholland Drive. Luckily it's a more straightforward story than either of these films and it's successful as a comedy, full of jokes and good humour. Key to this latter point is, of course, Bill Murray, for whom Jarmusch claims to have written the screenplay. His brand of almost inscrutably dry humour shouldn't really make one laugh on paper, but it works magnificently in the event. He's gifted a partner as straight-guy in Jeffrey Wright's Winston, whose meticulously created accent is worth the viewing alone. The film is a mixture of road trip and whodunnit, using the mystery of the letter that prompts Murray's trip to drive the rite-of-passage he takes. By the end there are no realist answers to realist questions (the provenance of the letter(s) is probably the same as that of the video tapes in Michael Haneke's Cache) but Don may well be enlightened nonetheless.
"Sometimes life brings some strange surprises."
Broken Flowers is a film that I just found nothing likable about it. It's an offbeat indie film, but not in a way that would make it, either funny or emotional. The film is dull and pretty boring, which is a first for me when Bill Murray is starring. There was only one scene I actually liked and that was the very last one in the film. Other than that I was just waiting for the movie to end.
A bachelor, Don, gets a letter from an anonymous lover of the past right after breaking up with his most recent girlfriend. In the letter, he is told that he has a son who is going to come looking for him and that son is 19 years old. Don has a few ideas of who the mystery mother of his child could be, so he tracks each and everyone of them down and meets with them. Some of the meetings turn out well, others awkward, and others horrible. We are never really told who the mother is in so many words, but we know anyway.
It isn't a horribly made or acted movie, it's just one I found no enjoyment in watching. I didn't get any satisfaction out of the subtle independent filmmaking in this case, like I normally do. That was somewhat surprising to me because I normally love movies like this.
This film also proves that Bill Murray is a HUGE hipster, which is pretty awesome!
A slow paced comedy that in a strange way is heart warming as we watch on as Don battles against wanting more from his emotionally empty life. Throughout the feature you cannot take your eyes away from Murray as we laugh, cry and cringe through his adventure only to end up where he started and none the better for it.
An empty finish at first leaves you shocked but its the realisation by Don that he wants more without him knowing that makes the journey worth while.
"That was quite an outfit you weren't wearing earlier. "
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Summary: After being dumped by another girlfriend (Julie Delpy), serial bachelor Don Johnston (Bill Murray) vows he'll be alone forever. But when a mysterious unsigned letter arrives in the mail, he's surprised to learn he has a 19-year-old son. With no idea who the mother is, Don sets out on a cross-country journey to confront his past, surprising a series of old flames along the way.
My Thoughts: "A character study film that moves at a slow pace, sometimes unbearable pace, but in an artistic way. It settles you into the surrounding's, and most of it is quite gloomy. The main character, Don Johnston, is a lonely sad individual. The feel of the film is depressing. It has some comedic relief, not a lot though. You meet some very interesting characters along his journey (that being his ex's). Each one of his ex's are very unique and quite different from one another. This movie also shows you that what you left in the past should remain in the past, hence why it's called the past. That includes the people you leave behind. Things are meant to change. It's unrealistic to live in the past or to predict what may come in the future, so as the movie says, what matters is now, the present. Great film, but the pace killed me. I am usually patient with slow moving films, I guess just not tonight."
Jim Jarmusch's story also allows him to trot out a handful of great actresses in glorified cameos, all of them nailing their roles with great success. An unrecognizable Tilda Swinton has a massive impact with just four lines; Frances Conroy speaks volumes with her downplayed, dead-in-the-eyes, "happily married" real estate agent. Seeing the various miseries of all these women in his life is a fantastic way for Jarmusch to put life into perspective for Don, a motif that plays into the ending very intelligently. Why did someone put him up to this journey? The movie makes its suggestions, but ultimately, we are left to our own devices.
Broken Flowers is a fine contribution from Jarmusch, one that washed Mystery Train from my palate and has encouraged me to finish Ghost Dog. The man has a way with film, this sort of elegiac white trashiness...it's fascinating. Art imitating life in the strangest of ways.