Broken Flowers

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Broken Flowers
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In Broken Flowers, Bill Murray stars as more or less the same humourless, middle-aged son-of-a-bitch that he's played in movies like The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

This time around, Murray is Don Johnston, an aging playboy who has just received an anonymous letter from an ex-lover claiming that Don has a 19-year old son who is seeking out his father. Johnston shows little interest in the fact that he may soon have a son he has never met showing up at his doorstep but his detective-wannabe neighbour Winston (Jeffrey Wright) is enamoured by the prospect. Winston eventually manages to get Don to do up a list of ex-girlfriends who could possibly be the mother of his supposed son. With that list and the help of the internet, Winston plans a cross-country trip for Don that includes plane tickets, rental cars, maps, hotel rooms and mixed CDs. Soon, Don is on the road and in the airways looking for the woman who sent him this mysterious letter. He proceeds to have a series of interesting run-ins with a handful of his ex-lovers (played by the likes of Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton) and one very interesting rendez-vous with an ex-lover's daughter named Lolita (Alexis Dziena).

Broken Flowers is a movie that is receiving rave reviews from the world's movie experts and with good cause. I must warn that Broken Flowers is not a movie for everyone. If you like your movies fast-paced and action-packed with side-slapping humour, then stay away. Broken Flowers is sometimes slow-moving, it's loaded with subtle humour and witty dialogue and features a very discreet performance by Bill Murray. So subtle is his performance that I wonder if Murray pieced together more than one page of dialogue throughout the entire movie. Despite Murray's perfect performance as a character that was seemingly written with nobody but the new Bill Murray in mind, I do question whether Murray deserves the Oscar buzz that has surrounded his performance in Broken Flowers. I found Jeffrey Wright to be simply brilliant and he might garner my inconsequential Oscar vote.

As for the movie itself, as I said, Broken Flowers may not be a movie that pleases all movie-goers but if you are a fan of Bill Murray and enjoy quirky and somewhat shrewd movies, then this is the movie for you. Broken Flowers really resembles About Schmidt in the feeling of the movie and the basic premise, minus, of course, the Kathy Bates nude scene. That's not to say that Broken Flowers does not have its share of nudity. In fact, it has a naked scene that is one of the most surprising naked scenes to grace the big screen in many years.

The nudity, another classic Bill Murray performance, Jeffrey Wright, many humourous moments and and interesting story certainly makes Broken Flowers one of the better movies to hit the theatres this month. I have to admit I wasn't very happy with the ending. It was very appropriate for this movie but that still didn't make me happy.

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