Broken Flowers (2005) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.

  • The resolutely single Don Johnston has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don resigns himself to being alone yet again and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this "mystery" by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston, an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Sherry, the girlfriend of the former "Don Juan," successful older businessman Don Johnston, ends their relationship. At around the same time, he receives an anonymous pink letter revealing to him that he has a nineteen-year-old son, but he has no clue as to who the mother might be. Don's friend and neighbor ,Winston, an aspiring "Sherlock Holmes," compiles a list of Don's former girlfriends and presses a plan for a cross-country trip to meet each of them and subsequently learn the identity of the son.

    A reluctant and emotionless Don, armed with flowers, first visits the widow, Laura, preceded by her teenage daughter, Lolita, who affronts him by appearing naked in an asexual context in a show of emancipation at his expense. Laura herself, however, is the one person who treats him humanely and as a sexual being. Then he meets the successful real estate agent Dora and her husband Ron and they have an uncomfortable dinner together, with Don as a third wheel. He next takes flowers to the office old flame Dr. Carmen, now a writer on the psychology of pets and a communicator with animals, (based on her 'relationship' with a deceased canine.) Her much younger secretary gives Don a markedly icy reception supposedly because of his unannounced arrival. He unapologetically imposes on Carmen's schedule, but despite his best efforts he can not penetrate her armor. And the secretary, as an afterthought, returns the flowers. Lastly, he plies his charms with Penny, yet another example of resentment, living in the woods with a pair of younger motorcycle toughs, one of whom, on the pretense of gentlemanly concern about what he makes out to be insensitivity towards Penny, cold-cocks Don Johnston. Johnston wakes up in his car with the flowers broken.

    A little desperate now, he makes the brief acquaintanceship of a young, kind-hearted lady florist, Sun Green, who begins to show some inclination towards tenderness, although she finds his name, Don Johnston, impossibly quaint. Back on the street, unshaven and looking increasingly like a bum, Johnston has a brief encounter with a young male hitchhiker for whom he buys a sandwich, but then makes an awkward comment how the hiker, who has been brought up in a Fatherless setting, must think Don is his Father! This goes over about as poorly as every other attempt at expression by Johnston. It now becomes clear that while Don's perception of everyone from his past as blatantly neurotic is pretty accurate, Don Johnston himself, with the romantic supports of his youth withdrawn and standing lost perilously in traffic, is also himself a pretty spurious and expendable character in the eyes of the world, or at least for the moment his odyssey has brought him to that pass. Don ultimately returns home without solving the mystery but realizing that his past is lost irretrievably.

    • Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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