‘Flowers’ left me wilted
Sometimes life brings some strange surprises. And sometimes the Speakeasy brings some strange movies.The first sentence is the tag line of “Broken Flowers.” The latter is a sentiment spoken aloud by a woman walking alone out of the movie. Her specific words to me: “That was weird.”I had to agree. And I’d add: Slow and a little dissatisfying.Of course, Bill Murray delivers an excellent performance as Don Johnston, an emotionally-detached, aging playboy who receives a mysterious letter from a woman he dated 20 years ago, saying they have a son. Only, he doesn’t know which woman, and she doesn’t sign her name. So begins the mystery – at least for Don’s neighbor, Winston (Jeffrey Wright), who’s much more interested in Don’s love life than the bachelor is.
The thing is, Winston’s wrapped up in solving the mystery, but if we buy into the game, we’ll regret it because we won’t find answers. Wright and Murray play off of each other in a subtly humorous way. But I wouldn’t exactly call this a comedy. Long gone are the days of Murray pounding out the loud and boisterous laughs of “Saturday Night Live.” With his age seems to have come a more mature humor – and sometimes it works better than others.”Lost in Translation” still stands as one of my favorite movies. There, his humor, charm and flat affect worked. And not letting the audience hear what he whispered to the young girl worked also.
“Broken Flowers” attempts a similar stunt – only bolder – and in my opinion, it doesn’t work. Instead of intriguing me, it left me a little miffed; I sat through Murray sitting and staring at a glass of champagne for minutes on end. I patiently watched as he drove the long roads from one old girlfriend’s house to another. So I think I deserve a more satisfying ending.Sure, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch gives us clues. It could be this. It’s probably that. But for all the time he took to painstakingly set up characters at the beginning of the movie, he didn’t set the scenario well enough for me to arrive at a satisfying conclusion.I imagine some people will love this movie. It’s sort of the Zen of setting a man in motion after he emotionally shuts down. Don’s interactions and his delicate adjustments to each of his ex-lovers is somewhat fascinating, as are a few of their life stories. Sharon Stone even mocks her own youthful sexual boldness through her character’s daughter. But after reaching for meaning, for solutions or for something riveting in the movie, I came up short. Sure, I can manufacture the meaning of a man’s search; I can come up with plausible “answers”; and I can say that Murray and Wright’s performances were indeed riveting. But somehow, the movie just doesn’t bloom to its fullest. And it leaves me feeling a little wilted.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User