Broken Flowers


Directed by: Jim Jarmusch
Written by:Jim Jarmusch
Starring: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Julie Delpy, Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Christopher McDonald, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton
Released: December 26, 2005
Grade: B-

A hand places a pink envelope inside a mailbox.  We do not see who is sending it.  The letter is destined for Don Johnston (Murray), an ageing bachelor who has been with many women but has never married.

When Don opens the letter, he’s in for a shock.  It reveals that he has a 19-year-old son who has gone on a road trip and may be looking to find his father.  It’s a polite warning just in case he should show up.  The letter has been written on a typewriter and is unsigned.  Is this for real?  Does he really have a son?  If so, who is the mother?

Don’s next-door neighbour, Winston (Wright), is a part-time detective and insists on helping out.  After Don compiles a list of his five girlfriends from 20 years ago, Winston uses his computer to find out their current details and addresses.  Somewhat reluctantly, Don begins his own road trip to learn who sent the pink letter.

The strong cast may lure you in but Broken Flowers is a strange, unconventional film from a strange, unconventional filmmaker.  Director Jim Jarmusch’s last film, Coffee & Cigarettes, was an hour-and-half of people talking whilst smoking and drinking coffee.  There’s more substance to Broken Flowers but the open ended conclusion will undoubtedly leave some viewers unsatisfied.

The film boasts a large cast and includes Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton.  It also has the most unexpected nude scene of the year but I won’t spoil that surprise.  It’s another nice performance from Bill Murray and his tired, disenchanted character reminded me of him in Lost In Translation.  The part was written by Jim Jarmusch will Bill Murray in mind.

There’s great intrigue in the story but the ending has me stumped.  Jarmusch is a talented, original filmmaker but I’m not on his level.