Broken Flowers (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/10/2005

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Enjoyable, low-key comedy drama, with terrific performances from the entire cast – this is Jim Jarmusch’s best film for quite some time.

The Background
At first glance, Jim Jarmusch’s latest film seems like a cross between Lost in Translation and About Schmidt. Certainly, it shares similar elements with both films, in addition to the obvious similarity in Bill Murray’s deadpan performance. However, Broken Flowers is far from derivative and the end result is both moving and thought-provoking.

The Story
Murray plays Don Johnston, a confirmed bachelor who gets dumped by his French girlfriend Sherry (Julie Delpy) on the same day that he receives an anonymous letter informing him about an 18 year-old son he never knew he had.

With the help of his amateur sleuth neighbour Winston (Jeffrey Wright), Don sets about tracking down all his ex-girlfriends from that time period, in order to discover which of them might have written the letter.

Don’s trip into the past brings him into contact with: sexy Laura (Sharon Stone) and her teenage temptress daughter Lolita (Alexis Dziena), who’s unaware of just how aptly she’s been named; prim and proper Dora (Frances Conroy); lawyer-turned-animal-communicator Carmen (Jessica Lange); and angry Penny (Tilda Swinton). Each of the women provides Don with a glimpse of what his life might have been like if he had made different choices.

The Good
Despite its starry cast, there’s a real sense of authenticity to Broken Flowers. The settings and the people seem real and familiar. Similarly, it unfolds at a believably slow pace, giving us time to get to know the characters. The comedy in Broken Flowers is very subtle and low-key but there are a handful of laugh-out-loud moments.

Murray is terrific as Don – there’s a genuine sadness to his character and he makes you feel the pain of the emptiness he doesn’t know how to express. The lead actresses are all superb, with Stone the stand-out – the image of her crashed out on top of Murray is the film’s most iconic image.

The Conclusion
In short, Broken Flowers is an enjoyable, thought-provoking and surprisingly moving comedy-drama. Recommended.

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Broken Flowers (15)
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Content updated: 19/05/2019 18:00

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