In 8th grade I stood up a girl for the Christmas Dance. Or the Spring Formal, or some such ritual where kids dress up, get together and awkwardly learn about the opposite sex while trying to maintain their own personal dignities.
I didn't stand this girl up on purpose; I asked her to the dance the day of the event (after weeks of working up the nerve), and when I arrived home from school that Friday and announced my intentions, my mom reminded me I had nothing formal to wear. This being central West Virginia circa 1979, there were no real options for finding a suit at 5pm on a Friday. And when I called my classmate to tell her the news...she didn't answer the phone. Ever. The phone just rang, all evening.
She went to the dance, I didn't. Short story is, Martha hated my guts throughout junior and senior high, and never forgave me for my stupidity. I apologized often, after which she always-- politely-- reminded me that I was the single most selfish, vain boy she had ever met.
I have lots of regrets, but this one is at the top of my list. For years, I've wanted to track Martha down and tell her just once more that I am sorry, and ask her forgiveness. I don't, because I presume she would find it childish and a little too 12-step-ish. But, I wish I had the nerve.
Broken Flowers reminded me of this life event. Bill Murray plays Don Johnston, an over-the-hill Don Juan type who discovers he may have a son from a fling that occurred 20 years ago. Problem is, the handwritten note informing him of this possibility is unsigned, so Don has to visit five long-lost loves to determine if the son he may have is real or not.
Broken Flowers is a nice, slow-paced film that reminds us that most of the decisions we make effect our lives at some point, even several years down the road. Reflecting on past actions and decisions is healthy. Being reminded of memories and regrets from the past serves us by keeping us connected with others, thus helping us stay more attuned to the present.
Bill Murray's acting in this movie was touted by critics, but I think it was too similar to his work in Lost In Translation. Still, the message of Broken Flowers is something that should be familiar to many. The film is a good rental for a rainy Saturday night. **