Broken Flowers

Bill Murray catches up with some old girlfriends in Jim Jarmusch’s deadpan Cannes prizewinner.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Year: 2005
Country: USA
Running time: 107 mins
USA

Screenplay: Jim Jarmusch.
Inspired by an idea from Bill Raden and Sara Driver
Photography: Frederick Elmes
Editor: Jay Rabinowitz
Music: Mulatu Astatke
With: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delpy, Mark Webber, Chloë Sevigny

Festivals: Cannes (In Competition) 2005
Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival 2005
The eagerly awaited new film by Festival regular Jim Jarmusch – and winner of this year’s Grand Prix at Cannes.

“A gentle miasma of happiness descended on the Croisette last night with Jim Jarmusch’s delightful Broken Flowers, a road-trip comedy starring Bill Murray… Murray plays Don Johnston – and the name’s similarity to that of a certain 1980s TV star causes hilarity wherever he goes. He’s a middle-aged roué and commitmentphobe who has just broken up with his girlfriend, Sherry (Julie Delpy). Having made his pile in computers, Don is happy to live in the old neighbourhood, doing no work and hanging out with his buddy Winston (Jeffrey Wright). But his life is turned upside down with the arrival of an anonymous letter telling him that he has a 19-year-old son by one of his former conquests. But which? Don goes travelling across the country for an investigative voyage into his own past, seeking out his ex-girlfriends: Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton. The resulting scenes of discomfiture and embarrassment are superbly contrived, and Murray’s deadpan face is on top reactive form. The astringent yet sympathetic treatment of menopausal men is reminiscent of Payne’s About Schmidt or Sideways – and it’s not completely impossible that the director has taken the seeking-out-old-flames theme from Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. But Jarmusch puts his own distinctive, eccentric stamp on this lovely comedy.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Both deliciously funny and strangely touching. Jarmusch’s reputation as perhaps the most enduringly independent and idiosyncratic of American film-makers remains wholly secure.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out