Broken Flowers

Cover Art and Menu: 9/10
I love the cover of this DVD. In the movie Murray goes to meet up with old flames from his past and the moments of anticipation when he waits at the door are some of the most interesting bits of the movie. Each time you wonder how the woman will react to seeing him again. It’s a perfect slice of the story to put on the cover. The menus are the same, which is kind of boring, but functional.

Features: 4/10

  • Outtakes – You don’t need me to tell you what outtakes are.
  • Behind The Scenes – An all too brief look at the making of the film. I fall in love with certain movies and this is one of them. With that comes a strong need to know how it all came about, which this little extra does not satisfy.
  • Girls On The Bus Extended Scene – One scene involves two teenage girls rambling on and on while riding the bus with Murray. This is just an extended version of their improved gabbing.

The Movie: 9/10
Where would the people from your past be if you stayed in their lives? Where would you be if you had stayed with that one girlfriend or boyfriend so many years ago? I’m not sure these are questions Broken Flowers intends to explore, but as I watched this smooth sullen film and it snuck into my head, it became apparent that Don’s past was much more satisfying than his present. So, why revisit women from broken or faded relationships twenty years ago? The possibility that one of them mothered a son you have never met might be an obvious catalyst, then again, as Don lives his solitary life it seems inevitable that something wake him up from his loneliness.

Yes, he could just call these women instead of traveling hundreds of miles to surprise them in person, but what kind of a movie would that be? 🙂 Long drives through unfamiliar places give our leading man time to think of where he’s going, where he’s been. As he arrives at each house there is a moment when he seems to take a deep breath in anticipation of how each woman may react. He’s not afraid of it though, he just faces them all head on with a smile and a pink bouquet of flowers.

Each woman represents a different kind of past. In their pasts they were everything from a hippy chick to an aspiring attorney. How they have changed or not changed effects not only how they react to seeing Don at their doorstep, but how they ultimately say good bye. Would the people from your past be glad to see the back of you again, for the last time, or would they want you to stay and save them from their misery?

Murray plays Don, an “over the hill Don Juan” according to his latest girlfriend. We get the picture, he was a lady’s man. He made some money along the way and now after that current girlfriend leaves him he’s left those moments alone. You know the ones. He sits on the couch in silence, turns on the TV, finds nothing to watch and sits again in silence. He needs something to rattle his cage a bit and when his neighbor  takes on the search for the mysterious mother of a son Don has never met and knows nothing about, it’s like a door opens to breathing some life back into his life.

With long moments of silence, driving, flying, sitting quietly, this film leaves a lot of things unspoken, unexplored, it just lets this man go on a strange journey as we watch and wonder where it will all end. How will this change his life? Or will it at all? It’s not the kind of movie that lays it all out for you. It’s not about telling us what’s going to happen. It’s about where this whole thing will take Don, and how seeing each woman might just make him regret having left them behind. He seems disconnected most of the time, kind of aloof, like he doesn’t give a shit about anything. But then there are moments when we see something else, something that makes us want him to end his loneliness. He is endeared to his friends children, he flirts mercilessly but harmlessly with the same neighbor’s wife with a big smile on his face. That’s something we don’t see him decorated with often, a smile.

At times during his little reunions he might flash an uncomfortable grin, but only a few people and moments bring a real sense of happiness or joy to his face. He’s a jaded man and his friend wants to help him take his life in a new direction, erasing some of that hardened heart stuff. Well, all of this is unspoken, once again. It’s all just there for you to pull out of the film however you see it. If you like hardball comedy with Murray being raucous and outrageous, well, you need to be prepared for a more thoughtful film if you watch Broken Flowers. It’s very very funny, just in a subtle way, not in your face, not dummied down for anyone who wants to skip the thinking portion of their life.

Let’s not forget the incredibly cool soundtrack. As the pace of the movie is methodically slow, quirky, intentionally giving us time to think of what the leading character is thinking and going through, the music drips along with us perfectly like an I.V. of something nice:)

I highly recommend Broken Flowers for anyone who appreciates character driven stories. There’s a journey to be had here for the leading man as well as the viewer, if you are willing to take it. I had flashes of what it would be like to face people from my past…I won’t go seeking them out, but it’s something to wonder about.

Value: 8/10
For around $17.00 this is a great addition to your DVD collection. Unless of course you want explosions and random gunfire mixed with lurid sexual encounters. Nothing wrong with all that, but Broken Flowers is a world away from the Hollywood machine of formulas and eye candy. It’s worth a purchase if you dig Murray in all his roles. It’s worth a rental if you are still convinced that Stripes and Meatballs are the last “real movies” he’s made, but are willing to try new things. Skip it all together if you think American Pie and Dukes of Hazard are two of the greatest movies ever made.

Overall Score 9/10