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Overall Rating
3.51

Awesome: 20%
Worth A Look42.5%
Average: 18.75%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap: 12.5%

7 reviews, 38 user ratings


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Broken Flowers
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by brianorndorf

"Bill Murray can do no wrong"
4 stars

The latest in a series of films for Bill Murray that have demonstrated he’s at the top of his game in recent years, “Broken Flowers” is a composed journey into regret. Guided with typical lovable detachment by Jim Jarmusch, “Flowers” is a tale of hilarity and drama that doesn’t break a sweat, but remains an absorbing, satisfying emotional expedition.

One day, while watching his latest girlfriend (Julie Delpy) leave him, perpetual bachelor Don Johnston (Bill Murray) finds an anonymous pink letter in his mail explaining that he fathered a son 20 years ago, and the kid is coming to look for him. After handing the letter over to his detective-novel-loving best friend, Winston (Jeffrey Wright), Don is ready to ignore the situation and wallow in his loneliness. However, with Winston’s carefully planned itinerary, mix CDs, and insistence, Don crosses the country looking up old girlfriends (including Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, and Tilda Swinton), some hostile, some not, to look for clues about who sent the letter.

After taking an aesthetic spring break with his uneven aside of shorts, “Coffee and Cigarettes,” Jim Jarmusch returns to feature-length filmmaking with his shrewd comedy, “Broken Flowers,” and it’s wonderful to see the idiosyncratic filmmaker back in the saddle again.

Written with Bill Murray in mind, Jarmusch uses the actor sparingly but effectively in this odd meditation on personal inventory. This is Murray’s third mopey-bastard role in a row, completing a trilogy of brilliant performances that have showcased this comedy icon in ways no one dared attempt before. “Flowers” doesn’t quite beg the emotions that “Lost in Translation” or “The Life Aquatic” did. Instead, Jarmusch wants Murray’s Don to be a silent witness to his misspent life floating in front of him, almost unable to fundamentally communicate due to shock and guilt. Murray is typically miraculous here, quiet yet delicately expressive, and surrounded by an impressive collection of leading ladies to play off of. Jarmusch may not ask the world of Murray performance wise, but his minimal use of the actor is terrific.

The rest of “Flowers” rises up to Murray’s performance level, but in very traditional Jarmusch laid back ways. While the plot features a reservoir of dramatic urgency, “Flowers” never succumbs to hysteria. It trucks along evenly maintaining a hipster cool speed, stopping for big laughs on Don’s journey, including one nugget that features Don encountering the sexually charged teen daughter (named, of course, Lolita) of one of his past lovers. I also greatly enjoyed the character of Winston, and his enthusiasm for Don’s mysterious journey, which Don doesn’t share. Wonderfully played by character actor Wright, the performance adds just the right flavor of light, restrained comedy “Flowers” needs at the opening to set the mood of the film.

“Broken Flowers” is a nice return to form for Jarmusch, for his quirky, casual style enlivens the material agreeably, and often hilariously, making for one of his best films to date.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12682&reviewer=404
originally posted: 08/05/05 13:54:49
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User Comments

8/12/13 JASON EXCEPT FOR THE NUDE SCENE---TERRIBLE 1 stars
9/14/10 PAUL SHORTT INTRIGUING DEADPAN COMEDY WITH A GOOD CAST 4 stars
1/17/08 Bitchflaps Glacial and sedate. Jarmusch once again proves to be a mere shadow of his former talents. 2 stars
1/03/08 Cinesnob Interesting film--but Bill Murray as a great lover? Come on! 3 stars
6/01/07 ES There's really nothing to this movie, it's completely forgettable and devoid of interest 2 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold Not as mindblowing as Lost in Translation and Man Who Knew Too Little, but still a great. 5 stars
12/21/06 David Pollastrini The Lolita chick was hot! 3 stars
9/08/06 Thomas Semesky I expected better. 3 stars
8/23/06 Larry Bryant Murray is outstanding, as usual, and loved the supporting cast (although most only came)oI. 4 stars
7/12/06 Marty i really liked Lost in Translation but this one was eh 3 stars
5/30/06 Marce Interesting... 4 stars
5/10/06 millersxing Jeffrey Wright is the best of a stellar ensemble . Jarmusch provokes viewer reflection. 4 stars
4/04/06 Sammie Read great movie! 5 stars
3/21/06 Jen Dull; unfinished; utterly and completely boring. What a waste. 1 stars
3/07/06 Annie G Another movie where Bill Murray seems catatonic ... is that the only way he can act now? 3 stars
2/20/06 Indrid Cold Leads to a satisfyingly ambiguous and meloncholy ending, but pretty darn boring throughout. 3 stars
1/18/06 Elza Hudson BORING, DREADFUL, CRAP! 1 stars
1/18/06 greensweater yawnfest - DVD seemed to be missing a scene at the end :) 2 stars
1/17/06 Sam Boring beyond BELIEF! Bill, try making a facial expression, or are you on Quaaludes? 1 stars
1/15/06 Perry Mason Murray is awesome. All the actresses are awesome. The ending rocks. Yeah it's awesome. 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Very good film. Murray is a revalation. 4 stars
10/24/05 Stan Arnold One of the worst films I've ever seen 1 stars
10/21/05 Morten damn why dont they warn people about the ending, (the ending makes the movie worthless) 1 stars
9/07/05 Betty Davis I was most disappointed...the naked teenager was very distasteful. Also, no real ending. 1 stars
8/30/05 lillian needed more emotion incertain areaa 4 stars
8/28/05 jcjs ok, nothing compared to 'lost in translation'...dead pan Murray, slow 'pastizing' 4 stars
8/28/05 malcolm insightful. murray has come a long way. a boneheaded mission though. 3 stars
8/28/05 Caiphn Not for everyone. 3 stars
8/27/05 Maalstrom Interesting story that doesn't finish but the movie is all about character. Rather Moving. 4 stars
8/26/05 Likaswisi Jean Tender, intellectual and funny. Great performances- Wright steals the show. 4 stars
8/25/05 Mike If the main character doesn't care about his past, why should we? A total farce. 1 stars
8/23/05 Kathy So bad that when it was over strangers talked to each other about how bad it was. 1 stars
8/21/05 Don Phillips 30 minutes of shots of Murray driving a car or sitting on a plane. Rest is no good! 1 stars
8/17/05 Kathy Watson Waste of 1 hr 45 min...the audience was very disappointed!! 2 stars
8/16/05 Jim The Movie Freak a middle-aged version of High Fidelity with a perfect ending. Tad overrated still great! 4 stars
8/13/05 Mark Not a work of art, but a decent entertainment 3 stars
8/12/05 bonnie mcfadden come on! I was thinking about my auction on eBay half the time! 2 stars
8/03/05 Elitza Premiered in TC, MI--great flick! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Aug-2005 (R)
  DVD: 03-Jan-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2005


Directed by
  Jim Jarmusch

Written by
  Jim Jarmusch

Cast
  Bill Murray
  Jeffrey Wright
  Frances Conroy
  Sharon Stone
  Jessica Lange
  Tilda Swinton



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