As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise visit by his younger cousin from Budapest. From initial hostility and indifference a small degree of affection grows between the two. Along... See full summary »
In a vignette called "Strange to meet you," Roberto sits at a small table in a coffee bar. Five cups of coffee and two ashtrays are in front of him; he drinks and smokes. Steven joins him. ... See full summary »
The resolutely single Don Johnston has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don resigns himself to being alone yet again and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this "mystery" by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston, an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present. Written by
Wonderfully unique and charming (but perhaps too spare)
I just saw this at a press screening. It's very smart, well-made and entertaining, directed with sure-handed control, full of quirky, funny moments and superb acting. The film pretty much avoids clichés, although it does rely a bit on the familiar "Aren't Middle-Americans quirky?" idea for its humor. But Jarmusch never goes too far with this, his restraint keeping the film propelled from beginning to end.
The only weakness for me is rooted in the film's strength: I feel like there's not quite enough here.
Murray's character is beleaguered and despondent, Murray plays him with perfect subtlety. This is fun and fascinating to watch; I found myself hanging onto every little expression on Murray's face. But, the combination of his passive, muted performance and the spare storytelling left me wanting more. It just doesn't have as much impact as I feel it could have. So, yes, it's wonderful minimalism, but perhaps a bit too slight of a movie to have any lasting resonance.
Bill Murray has added another very good performance to his career, and Jim Jarmusch has made another compact little gem (unlike some of his more recent films). Unique and entertaining. Definitely worth seeing.
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