As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.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 asked each of the four female leads to write a version of the pink letter from the point of view of their respective characters. He used a combination of those four letters in the film. See more »
The blue rental car that Murray drives to the farmhouse has different style wheels than the car that Murray wakes up in after being beat up. 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 »
Alone in the Crowd
Written by Gilbert Snapper
Performed by Mulatu Astatke and his Ethiopian Quintet
Courtesy of Worthy Records See more »
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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