It’s not “Caddyshack.” Not “Groundhog’s Day”either, or even “Ghostbusters.” Instead, the bittersweet comedy “Broken Flowers,” starring Bill Murray, more closely resembles a more recent Murray vehicle, “Lost in Translation.” Quirky and subdued, “Broken Flowers” is directed by indie veteran Jim Jarmusch and features a modern Lothario in search of answers in unlikely places.
As in Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” Murray stars in a role written exclusively for him. Here, he plays an aging Don Juan, aptly named Don Johnston. Don’s latest girlfriend Sherry (played by Julie Delpy) breaks up with him, citing his failure to commit, and Don retraces his relationships with four ex-lovers after receiving an anonymous letter on pink paper informing him he has a 19-year-old son looking for him. Prompted by his neighbor and confidante, Winston, Don embarks on a cross-country road trip to find answers and his former flames.
All of the women may fit the eponymous “broken flowers,” victims of failed relationships and life, as well as candidates for the mother of his son, though all the women are notably different. Each has a connection to the color pink, and some are evasive about the issue of children. Don’s former flames, played with perfection by Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy, are all at different points in their lives. Some are in new relationships, others are not and the only woman that Don admits to ever loving is dead.
While Don avoids direct confrontation with any of the women about his son, he realizes how little he actually knew about them,or about himself. The film is not entirely about finding answers, but rather about the process of discovery. Don sees a number of young men he thinks could easily be his son (and Murray’s real-life son appears in a cameo). During his physical odyssey, Don recognizes that taking the journey is just as important as finding an answer.
The film’s score is truly a composite effort. Jarmusch, also a musician, selected a range of classical, ’60s rock, soul and traditional African melodies for the soundtrack. Winner of the 2005 Cannes film festival, “Broken Flowers” will be shown at the Connelly Center Cinema on Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for students with ID and $5 for all others. The Monday showing only will feature communication assistant professor Seth Mulliken as a guest speaker to introduce the film and to lead discussion afterwards.
For more information, please call X9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS web page, www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.