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3.1 out of 5 stars
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3.1 out of 5 stars
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on 29 June 2006
I found `Broken Flowers' to be an extremely entertaining and delightful tale starring Bill Murray in the kind of dry and deadpan role that made `Lost In Translation' such an enjoyable success. Here he plays Don Johnston - an ageing and distant `Casanova'. When dumped by his latest lover Sherry (Julie Delpy) Don's response is to once more accept that the life of a single man is meant for him. But his uncomplicated and seemingly tedious life suddenly livens up dramatically when he gets a mysterious pink letter through the post. In it the anonymous writer tells him that he has a 19 year old son who could be looking for him - quite a turn of events for somebody who prefers a low key existence!

At first Don's reaction is not to react. As usual he's willing to sit back and do nothing. But he hasn't allowed for his neighbour and closest friend (and he doesn't have many!) Winston (Jeffrey Wright). Being something of an amateur detective Winston is far more intrigued and excited than Don is by this `mystery' and pushes him to investigate it. Don has no enthusiasm for delving into his past love lives but despite his reluctance he sets off on a journey across the country to call on four `old flames'. These out of the blue visits to each of these very individual and different women bring new surprises for Don as he awkwardly finds himself facing both his past and his present. And it's an absolute delight to follow his progress and watch his discoveries...

The film may have an apparently simple story but thanks to the astute direction of director/writer Jim Jarmusch it's full of depth and interest. It has a wonderfully pleasing feel but is also very touching. Seeing the women who were once big parts of his life has an unexpected impact on the previously jaded Don. As the story unfolds he finds himself awakening and at last becoming in touch with feelings that he either didn't know were there or he'd buried deep. There are lots of offbeat and amusing moments and plenty of tender and poignant ones too. I wont give any more away because the beauty of this film is in watching events take place and enjoying each unexpected turn. Don't expect anything fast paced - it's a story that would be ruined if rushed. Its measured pace allows its subtlety and mood to provide so much charm, warmth and sadness too. Murray excels as the cynical empty loner who goes on a voyage against his wishes and finds out so much about himself and others. Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, and Tilda Swinton as the four former girlfriends all add differing and fascinating cameos.

So many people have criticised the film for lack of pace or action. What's wrong with allowing a tale to develop and letting its pace give us time to enjoy and learn about the characters and motives? A very rewarding film and a thumbs up from me.
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on 9 January 2012
Bill Murray's character here really does do similar things to the character in "Lost in Translation". He sits on a couch while the TV or sound system play, with his head cocked to one side in a mildly fed-up way, and you start to wonder what he's thinking. You also find yourself laughing at the silliness of what's going on.

There's plenty of that. He lets life wash over him, but never really seems set on one course of action with any passion. I've known people who bring passion to every small thing they do, who can never be or do anything half-heartedly, and Murray's role here is....the opposite sort of person.

When he receives news that he is a father of a 19 yr old boy, he doesn't know whether to believe it, and looks as though he may well do nothing, out of sheer lassitude. He's surprisingly unbothered by the news that he may well be a parent, neither is he angry with the mother for not telling him. His more motivated neighbour and friend Winstone cajoles him into seeking out his ex-girlfriends and trying to ascertain which the mother is. He even gives him a CD of appropriate music for the road journey

So eventually, he goes on a journey meeting ex-girlfriends. The most expression you ever see on his face is mild suppressed amusement when he meets a teenage girl called Lolita whose flirting is not of the subtle kind. His expressionlessness is a blank slate for you to project what you imagine he might be feeling onto.

By the end I found I cared deeply. Great film

...and yes it is very slow moving. I switched from watching CSI to this, which reminds me of the time one Christmas I watched Star Wars, then put on Brideshead Revisited, and fidgeted with impatience for a while.
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on 22 July 2009
A simple movie with a simple message, yeah, its slow moving but got for g'sakes you cant watch Transformers (fast but rubbish) all your life.

I think this movie asks me: what would you do if you were older, and alone, and you discovered you had a son but didnt know who he was or the mother? Would you go looking for him by visiting every one of your ex-girlfiends after 20 years? Isnt the past a dead world?

I thought Lost in Translation was boring but here I was hooked because I wanted to see what each of Bill Murrays (Don) ex-girlfriends were like. And how they would react to seeing Don.

I wanted a lovely ending, I wanted reconciliation, I wanted the boy he meets at the end to be his son.... but I think the movie ends as realistically as jarmusch could make it... with no answers. Don reaps what he sowed.... emptiness.
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on 14 August 2006
Forgive the rather negative connotations of this title, as this is in fact a very good film. Broken Flowers, however, is not the kind of cinema experience that will be to everybody's liking. If you like a film with a definitive beginning, middle and an end then this is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you are not frustrated by a film that ask many questions without ever answering them and ends just as it begins, then it is well worth a look.

Don, played expertly by Bill Murray, is a wealthy but lonely man. An aging lothario, he has all the privileges money can buy, but nobody truly special to share it with. As his latest lover walks out on him, he receives and anonymous letter telling him that he has a son. What's more, he has left home to find him. Spurred on by his effervescent neighbour, Winston, Don embarks on a reluctant trip down memory lane to find the mother amongst his numerous ex - loves.

What makes this film so good, in my view, is that it challenges the audience. We know virtually nothing of Don's character, and the sparse script doesn't assist us in this. Nor do we ever find out who the mother is despite clues at every turn. A teenage boy appears at the end, but despite a dialogue with Murray, we are none the wiser

Don is emotionally frozen, seemingly unperturbed by the thought that he may have been a father for some years. Murray projects this with a finely tuned combination of monosyllabic lines and fleeting facial expressions - reminiscent of Richard Geere's deliberately stilted performance in "Unfaithful".

There appear to be two main themes to this film. The first is the Sartrean notion that life is what we make it. We masters of our own destinies and nothing in life is certain except death. Director Jim Marmusch nods at this idea when Murray learns that one of his former loves has since died, and pays an emotional visit to her grave.

The film begins with Murray sitting alone in his spacious house, and ends with him standing alone in the middle of a road with others going off in different directions. You do not need to be a genius to see the symbolic nature of the first and final shot. Further existential weight is added by the dichotomy between Don who is rich yet lives alone, and Winston, who is clearly hard up but has a wife and five children.

Secondly the notion of revisiting the past is brought through. We have probably all wondered at some time what became of our past loves, but very few of us will ever find out. Murray has this dubious privilege, but doesn't like everything he sees. It seems to beg the question - should we keep the past alive or leave it well alone?

This is a very competent film, yet should come with a warning - watching this can seriously damage you patience!
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2007
Truly astonishing that reviewers here are so hung up on action and can't appreciate the beauty of Broken Flowers, the deliciously subtle and playful humour, the craft of the director and cinematographer and above all the superb acting from a fine ensemble cast, led by the ever deadpan Bill Murray. Seems some people are uncomfortable with the time and space in which the characters live and breathe in their own quiet way, and also with the ambiguous resolution. Sorry guys, but life's like that! Well, don't watch if you're expecting labarynthine plot twists or ten deaths a minute, but luxuriate in the atmosphere, drink it in. This is not a perfect film but the good things here are totally spellbinding.
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on 13 July 2015
This is not a good film yet I watched it to the end in the vain hope that it would suddenly make sense.. it didn't. This is definitely not a feel good movie and I'm glad I've got Prime and didn't pay to watch it.
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on 12 January 2013
Originally started to watch this on TV a while ago but it was on late and I fell asleep ! What I saw was good enough to provoke me to buy the DVD. An excellent performance by Bill Murray in a movie full of delicious and thought provoking tensions. Story line is unpredictable and unusual with some surprising twists. Highly recommended but it does need attentive viewing.
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on 15 February 2016
Nobody can sit on a chair (or car seat) and look glum quite like Bill Murray. In this film he receives a “pink letter” suggesting he has a twenty year old son. His interfering neighbour suggests a route to investigate and so a gently flowering plot with subtlety and cleverness unfurls under the guidance of the talented director Jim Jarmusch. The characters have contrasting differences and depth and each conveys a message and a sort of vacuous quality to Bill’s life. Perhaps his only meaningful relationship will be with the mysterious son? There is much humour, a great music score and a clever ending. An eminently enjoyable and watchable film.
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on 27 February 2014
I originally borrowed this from my local French library and enjoyed it so much I had to buy it, A quirky story with fantastic music - I also went out and bought the CD too. Bill Murray is always Bill Murray in his films, but I enjoyed the story.
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on 18 August 2008
This is not a fast paced wham-bam-thank-you-mam popcorn movie, it is a leisurely journey with a man trying to come to terms with his past. I came away from this wanting more, but knowing enough to be contented.An excellent movie well worth the attention of anyone with a soul
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