Bill Murray makes any film he is in slightly better, and that is definitely true of Broken Flowers. This Jim Jarmusch film utilizes Murray’s ability to deliver a lot of content with the slightest movement and makes for an interesting journey of self reflection framed as a mystery. The film features several talented actors and actresses and a narrative that makes you work to understand.
Broken Flowers is a fun film to experience
Don Johnston (Bill Murray) receives a letter from an anonymous ex-lover informing him that he has a son. His detective obsessed neighbor, Winston (Jeffrey Wright), encourages him to go to his five ex-girlfriend’s that could possibly be the author of the letter to find out who he had a son with. Jarmusch sets out this difficult journey that is also about a man who has lived his whole life as a bachelor looking inward at what he wants.
The ex-girlfriends are played by Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton. Each react differently to the arrival of an old love, but all have moments of drama and comedy. The first stop is Laura (Stone) who has a daughter who is a little too flirtatious, which she seems to get from her mother. Don shows up with pink flowers and is looking for any signs of the woman who wrote the letter, but Lolita (Alexis Dziena) is the only one home and makes him feel very uncomfortable. The scene ends with the trio having dinner and it’s hard not to just watch Bill Murray’s every movement.
The film can easily leave people wanting more as there are several elements left for the audience to decide. In some ways it’s unsatisfying, but in others it’s more reminiscent of real life. There are some questions that will just not be answered and dealing with that uncertainty is part of growing as a person. Don is a man who is clearly unhappy, but he doesn’t seem to know what he wants to make him happy. The prospect of a son scares him, but as he travels it seems to excite him of the potential.
This was my first Jim Jarmusch film and I am hoping to explore more. I enjoyed this film a lot, but I was initially frustrated when it ended. However, as I took the time to think about the film and it’s possible meanings I’ve grown to really appreciate it. Broken Flowers earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.