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Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

Broken Flowers
A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

FILM SYNOPSIS: As the devoutly single Don Johnston (Murray) is dumped by his latest girlfriend (Delpy), he receives a anonymous pink letter informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. The situation causes Don to examine his relationships with women instead of moving on to the next one, and he embarks on a cross-country search for his old flames who might possess clues to the mystery at hand

Broken Flowers

At the beginning of Broken Flowers, Don Johnston (Bill Murray), sits on his couch as his lover Sherry prepares to leave him. He seems uninterested, as if this has happened before and will likely happen again. As Sherry leave is walking out, a pink envelope in Don’s mail slot captures his attention. Intrigued, he opens it and reads a letter from a woman with whom he had a relationship 20 years ago. She tells him that, unbeknownst to him, she had his child, a son. Now 19, the son has set off to look for his father, about whom he knows little. The unsigned letter advises Don to be on the lookout.

Don shares the letter with Winston, his neighbor and friend, who urges him to find the woman who wrote the letter. She can tell him about the son he never knew. Reluctantly, Don begins his journey into the past and four women he once loved, including Sharon Stone and the still-lovely Jessica Lange. Late in the film, a mysterious young man appears who may or may not be Don’s son.

Jim Jarmusch, director of Broken Flowers has been making independent movies for two decades. His movies are characterized by a slow pace, meandering narrative, and quirky characters. Broken Flowers has its share of offbeat humor as Don rediscovers these women from his past.

Don finds no easy answers in his quest. Who is the mother? Is the mysterious young man his son? Without giving away the ending, I will say that I was frustrated with the lack of resolution.
There is a curious distance to Broken Flowers. Rather than being drawn in to the story and characters, the mood is emotionally flat. As he showed in the far superior Lost in Translation, Murray can play the lonely, sad middle aged man to perfection. But, unlike Translation, there is no redeeming connection with another human being in Broken Flowers. There is no “aha!” moment in which Don’s soul is revealed. What did Don learned from his journey? I didn’t know. There is a sad sense of loss in the final closeup of Murray’s face. However, since I never felt like I knew what made Don tick, the scene failed to touch me.

As the credits rolled, and the lights came on, I felt puzzled and disappointed. I wanted to ask someone what it all was supposed to mean! If you know the answer, let me know.

Tom Condon, OP

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