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"Broken Flowers"

This is another of these trendy films in the vein of Lost in Translation, where not very much happens, no real reason is given for the whole film, and nothing is resolved at the end. It’s not a style of film-making I’m particularly fond of, although I did quite enjoy both Lost and this one. I think the closest film to this genre that manages to pull it off (outside French cinema) is Sideways.

Anyway, the film is about Bill Murray as Don, a retired, wealthy bachelor who is semi-dumped by his girlfriend as the film opens. As she leaves, there’s an anonymous pink letter in the post informing Don that an ex-girlfriend from 20 years ago actually became pregnant but only found out after they’d split up. She went on to have a boy, who’s now 19, and the letter went on to vaugly threaten that he might turn up at any minute as he’d left on a road-trip to find out about his father.

So Don is persuaded by his neighbour, Winston, to make a list of all the women it could have been, and to go and visit them to find out which one it was. This takes up the first 20 to 25 minutes of the film, and after this the film really picks up. Don ends up on the plane to the first of his 4 or 5 visits to old flames – which form the bulk of the film. This is actually superb, very funny and engaging, and caused endless speculation in our house about “is she the one?”. The common theme was pink – the original letter being pink – and everywhere he went he spotted items of pinkness and wondered “does this mean…?”

The cast were fab, and fairly hot – Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Tilda Swinton, Jessica Lange – not to mention the gorgeous Alexis Dziena, who is definitely and up and coming star. Actually Alexis is worth a bit more of a mention as Lolita, the very appropriately named daughter of Laura (Sharon Stone). Let’s say the first time Don sees her, her attire and behaviour is surprising (a 16 maybe 17 years old girl answers the door wearing only a very short dressing gown, invites in a totally strange man by taking his hand and pulling him in) – the second time is jaw dropping, but hilarious!

The meeting of each ex-partner is different, and all their life circumstances are different. It’s very nicely played out, and certainly had us guessing the whole way through.

The big problem with this film is the ending. The last five or ten minutes are simply pants. It almost feels like they ran out of money and/or ideas so just wrapped it up there and then. Not that anything was wrapped up mind. It’s a shame because it’s a really lovely concept, and the bulk of the film was played out really nicely.

Can I recommend it? Not really. Definitely worth the effort of tuning in on terrestial, but probably not worth renting the DVD. Unless you fancy Alexis Dziena, I suppose!

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