Don Johnston is a former Don Juan aka a womaniser, he made a small fortune working in computers and just after his latest girlfriend ended their relationship he receives an anonymous letter stating he has a 19 year old son that could be looking for him . . .
The revelation is something he was not expecting at all and he was very keen to just forget about it. Until his neighbour Winston who loves mystery novels and stories therefore convinced Don to work out who could have sent the letter. This then leads to him tracking down the women he had been seeing across the time frame that fits for a 19 year old son.
Winston is rather excited by all of this and researches five different women and tracking them down. Creating a map for Don to follow and work out who sent the letter. One of the five had passed away so he had four very different women to visit. Doesn’t it actually sound the worst thing ever though having a former lover turning up to see you after 20 years.
Each of the women he visits have different issues and don’t really seem too happy and content in the life they are living. Laura and Dora don’t seem to hold anything against Don, but Carmen and Penny are not happy to see him again. Each encounter is more awkward and dangerous than the last and it really does highlight that people are more likely to remember the worst moments rather than the happy times in the end.
The film is ambiguous and I actually quite liked that because it gives the viewer the chance to imagine how Don was feeling about the letter. Each woman had something that they could be linked to within in it as well. Something I actually do find rather horrendous for men is that this could really happen to them. One day they could be suddenly told that they have a child and I seriously find that horrific for them, its a power only women can have and use. Although I guess depending on violent circumstances being a loop hole for that.
I cannot imagine anyone but Bill Murray in this role he is the perfect choice for Don Johnston. Managing to gain sympathy as we don’t fully know what he got up to in the past, but the fact that he ends up one the quest to find where the letter came from is something interesting in terms of how he has grown as a person when getting older. Murray captures that in fantastic fashion. The actresses we get as his former girlfriends are fantastic as well Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton. I mean come on what a line up! Each bringing something a little bit different to the women.
I do feel like I have to mention the Lolita scene though, as uncomfortable as watching the actual film. I mean what on earth we all felt for Don at the moment! At that point I was a little bit concerned about what direction the film was going.