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BROKEN FLOWERS, 2005
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BROKEN FLOWERS, MOVIE POSTERBROKEN FLOWERS, 2005
Movie Reviews

Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Julie Delpy, Heather Simms, Brea Frazier, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton
Review by Omer Kula


SYNOPSIS:

As the devoutly single Don Johnston is dumped by his latest girlfriend, he receives an anonymous pink letter informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. The situation causes Don to examine his relationships with women instead of moving on to the next one, and he embarks on a cross-country search for his old flames who might possess clues to the mystery at hand.

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REVIEW:

‘Broken Flowers’ is Jim Jarmusch’s 9th feature. This time the story is about a middle-aged man, Don Johnston, and his way of searching his uncertain son and his mother. Bill Murray is Don Johnston, and his mother candidates are played by Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton. The other character of the story is Don Johnston’s only friend Winston, played by Jeffrey Wright.

The story starts with Sherry, Julia Delpy, dumping Don. From that point the film becomes a journey where Don has to face his past. With the help of Bill Murray’s great performance the film succeed to stay alive and enjoyable. The second impressive performance was Jeffrey Wright’s. He is really good as Winston, and alongside his performance, his character is interesting. Winston was like a role model for Don, and also the opposite is true. Don receives a

letter from one of his girlfriends which says that he has a nineteen year old son who is on a journey in search of his father. Don doesn’t care about the letter but he reads it to his neighbor Winston. Winston thinks that Don should make a list of his girlfriends who can be the mother and he also should go and talk to each of them because this is his destiny. Winston also thinks that Don understands women so he is the only one who can solve this mystery. Don doesn’t accept it because he doesn’t think there is any son or mother. He thinks that letter is a fake letter from one of his old girlfriends, In one scene Don visits Winston’s home and this scene starts with a conversation between Don and one of Winston’s little daughter. Don emulates this family life and then decides to take the trip. He also sees the limit of family life when Winston smokes secretly from his wife.

In his trip, Don visits his four old girlfriends and his visits change from the best welcome to worst. He sleeps with Laura in his first visit, then he stays for dinner with Dora and his husband. After that he visits Carmen and it is a warm but unpleasant welcome from her, and when he visits Penny she gets pissed at Don and two guys who are friends of Penny beat up Don and leave him in the middle of nowhere in his car. He doesn’t forget Michelle, who died five years ago, and he visits her grave with the same flowers he bought for his other girlfriends in his journey. Don doesn’t seem to fall in love in any of his girlfriend, not even his recent girlfriend. The only girl he mentioned something about love was Michelle. When Winston told him about her death, Don says that he had loved Michelle. When his trip ends Don changes in a way. This was his destiny and he really believed that he has a son. When he comes back from his trip he sees every young backpacker as his son who is searching for him. Maybe it’s because of he regrets not having a family but this is never clear in the film. When he gets another pink letter, this time from Sherry, he is really excited, maybe for the first time throughout the film because in the letter Sherry says that she loves Don and she wants to be with him. It’s never known who is his son or is there any son?

In Jarmusch’s films casting is always good but this time it’s not that shiny. Bill Murray is great and Jeffrey Wright is really good as Winston. The women in the film are not that interesting, maybe except Jessica Lange. Her character was an animal communicator and she was the most interesting woman in the film with Tilda Swinton’s Penny, but Penny appears just for a few minutes so it’s hard to compare. Most of the scenes have Don as center point and Bill Murray’s performance is enough to hold attention.

This film is a little bit different than Jarmusch’s previous film. It’s not mainly about communication this time. It’s more a man in middle age crisis and his relationship with women. At some point the journey becomes a meditative experience for Don. ‘Broken Flowers’ is more convincing than ‘Limits of Control’ in its secretive suit. Similar to ‘Ghost Dog’ this film has a lot of music in it, and the soundtrack is fine just like any Jarmusch. One of the weakest point in the film is flashback scenes. They are often too long and they are not useful or beautiful in screen. This film is not like a Jarmusch film full of interesting and cool characters but he’s still in fine form as a director and he has a first class actor this time.

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