Review By: Paul Maniaci
Check out Paulís website: www.thecareercookbook.com
Bill Murray stars as Don Johnston, a down on his luck playboy in Jim Jarmuschís cleverly comic tale of self exploration, Broken Flowers. Don has just been dumped by his girlfriend Sherry (Julie Delpy) when he receives a pink envelope in the mail from an unidentified former flame. The letter explains he has a nineteen year old son that might be looking for him. With prodding from his neighbor and friend Winston (Jeffrey Wright) he sets off to discover the truth by revisiting past lovers who could be the mother to his mystery child.
Bill Murray is on a hot streak. He continues to make interesting films with innovative filmmakers who know how to channel his immense acting skills. In his second go around with Jim Jarmusch, following his amusing turn as a waiter in Coffee and Cigarettes, Murray continues to portray melancholy characters. Even in his saddest state he attracts others attention and affection. He is the clown, trying to appease or amuse while struggling with the sad state of his affairs. In Broken Flowers his role is that of an elderly bachelor who is coming to terms with his life. He has had financial success in computers and romanced many women, but his existence lacks meaning. Now on a mission to find out if he has a legacy in the form of a son, he will learn about his past and perhaps what his future holds.
The story allows us to focus on one man as he takes a road trip across the United States trying to understand his place in this world. Donís visit down memory lane is amusing, especially in seeing him interact with past lovers. He squirms through uncomfortable moments while trying to reconcile in his own mind when and how he actually related to these unique women. Jarmusch creates noteworthy characters as writer and the actors portray them beautifully. As director he also knows well enough to let the camera linger on Murray at times because a lot of his emotions are expressed without words, simply in a facial expression he presents. Jarmuschís manufactured reality is not that far from home, quirky but in a subtle way, and it seems like it could happen to you.
This is Bill Murrayís movie, but he does have help from a strong cast including Jeffrey Wright who adds humor as Winston, Donís Jamaican neighbor, who fancies himself an investigator. He is the catalyst as he convinces Don to seek out answers. The female cast is excellent as well. It is nice to see Jessica Lange and Sharon Stone shine even in their small parts, as