Release year: 2005
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch, Bill Raden (idea), Sarah Driver (idea)
Starring: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, Julie Deply, Alexis Dziena, Frances Conroy, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny
Ratings: Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prize of the Jury winner. Palme d’Or nominee.
The day his girlfriend (Deply) leaves him, introvert Don (Murray) finds a pink letter among his mail. The letter is from an ex telling him they had a son twenty years ago. His best friend (Wright) forces the reluctant Don on a trip down memory lane, to try to discover which of his exes may be the one who sent the letter.
It can’t be a coincidence that the lead character is called Don, because Broken Flowers tells a story of an aging Don Juan, left alone with his memories in what appears to be a quiet and rather sad life. But is it sad? The more you get to know Don, the more you can imagine him enjoying a quiet life. There is hardly a moment without Murray (Lost in Translation, 2003) and therefore the movie relies heavily on him. Luckily this deadpan comedian easily pulls of the very understated tone of Jarmusch’s movie. There is something about Murray’s subtle humour that suits the director’s style, that brings out something in the movie where most would have ended with nothing. Despite hardly showing any emotions, Murray manage to make Broken Flowers one of Jarmusch’s most emotional movies and whether he is merely driving a car guided by a map, you don’t get bored in the company of Mr. Murray. The relationship between Don and his neighbour is the most humorous in the movie, with the interaction between the two showing signs of a long friendship where the two parties have long come to peace with their respective roles and Wright (Casino Royale, 2005) does an excellent job bringing him to life.Once Don is on the road, the movie becomes a smorgasbord of some of the best actresses. From Lange (Tootsie, 1982) and Stone (Basic Instinct, 1992) to Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin, 2011) and Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999), the movie showcases some of the very best and each portray an ex of Don in different ways, each shows signs of being the writer and thereby leaves you guessing in the fine little mystery drama. It is one of Jarmusch’s more accessible work and a good place to start for those interested in the work of this critically acclaimed director.
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.
Picture copyrights: NF Film