An aging lothario attempts to determine which of his old flames sent him a letter about a son he didn't know about.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Starring Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, and Jessica Lange
- It's an interesting enough tale, but the emotions are so low-key that I had a hard time hooking in - Jon
- I felt like this movie suffered from some genre schizophrenia - Lane
- I wanted to see more of the neighbor from the beginning - Cooker
Of the two Jim Jarmusch films I've seen (Ghost Dog, Only Lovers Left Alive), he's been locked in my estimation as a guy who knows how get whatever 'cool' is onscreen. Therefore, I was pretty surprised he started a film in a drab post office. Starring Bill Murray in sad, blase mode, Broken Flowers was not what I was expecting, but it is still an intriguing mystery.
Murray's Don Johnston is a lonely guy who can't sustain a relationship, idly living in his gray home until he gets a letter from a former girlfriend, saying that his son has run away, likely to find his father. Don didn't know he had a son in the first place, and spurred on by his nosy neighbor (Jeffrey Wright), he narrows the possibilities down to four women. Jarmusch follows Don as he travels from place to place, seeking to find the answer to this new question more out of curiosity and boredom than any paternal instinct. Each ex, well cast by middle-aged actresses like Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, and a near-unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, offers him little information and falls on the spectrum from accommodating to hateful. The value of Don's journey becomes less about answers and more about the act of doing anything at all. He goes from a character who doesn't give a shit in general to viewing every late-teenage boy as a what-if scenario.
It's an interesting-enough tale, but the emotions are so low-key that I had a hard time hooking in. I prefer Jarmusch when he's creating uber-mensch's, beings of myth that exist beyond normal human behavior. Don Johnston, an observer through and through, is in that ballpark, but without the indulgent camera work that accentuates the superhuman traits, it's just not as enthralling as urban ninjas or Moroccan vampires.