As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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.
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
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
Jim Jarmusch: [putting on a burnt CD in car while driving] Don Johnston puts on a home-burnt CD (given to him by Winston) every time he rides a car. In Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Ghost Dog puts on music from a home-burnt CD every time he rides a car. See more »
While they're having dinner, Johnston spears several carrots on his fork, nudging one off the edge of the plate and onto the table. In the next shot, it's gone. See more »
I pretty much have all my stuff.
[picks up mail]
Looks like you got a love letter from one of your other girlfriends.
See more »
Unusually, bit part players with no spoken lines in this movie are listed in the credits. Normally only speaking parts are listed. See more »
Broken Flowers is a departure for Jim Jarmusch, and not an altogether successful one. This film is decidedly more mainstream than anything Jarmusch has directed before. He inserts product from mapquest.com, Sharp, and Ford Taurus; shoots in color; and writes a character being admonished for smoking for starters. This isn't as radical a shift to mainstream as George Lucas going from THX-1138 to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. It's more like the Cohen brothers going from Blood Simple to Intolerable Cruelty.
Broken Flowers is highly structured and deliberately paced (i.e. slow), with an episodic format. Murray's character, Don Johnston, tries to reveal the identity of the woman who alerts him to the existence of his son, awkwardly reuniting with a succession of old flames. Murray's portrayal is fun to watch, and Sharon Stone is still magically delicious. The film has interesting things to say about the suburbs, the path not taken, bachelorhood, and the banality of travel. But it says little and hardly engages. It is the Odyssey with no reason to return home.
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