Lost in Translation

"Very Good"

Lost in Translation Review


While filmmakers like Brian De Palma and Neil Jordan have escaped to France to make labors of love, Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides) chose Japan. Two characters working through transitions in their lives while stuck in foreign environs rejoice in a quickly bonded friendship. A pleasantly simple story, matched with fine performances by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, topped off with stunning cinematography that allows the setting to mingle with those who inhabit it.

The recently wed Charlotte (Johansson) lazes around her hotel room, waiting for her photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi) to return from another crazy day of shooting. She spends some of her days wandering into cultural parks and entertainment, but finds herself stifled by a lack of direction. Her path converges with Bob (Bill Murray), a famous actor from America who is stuck in filming commercials because the money is just too darn good to turn down. Both are experiencing an estrangement from their spouses and get caught in reflection of where they are headed, leading to a powerful camaraderie that seeks enjoyment and solace.

Beneath the soul-searching of the central duo is a sense of humor at life's little troubles. They laugh at themselves, they laugh at others, and because they can do both, their roles are easy to relate to, whether or not you've been through a similar situation. Charlotte learns to appreciate the openness her youth can offer, while Bob is able to find that he wouldn't return to those previous stages of his life if given the chance. Their dialogue remains surprisingly natural despite the philosophical principles that are being wrestled with.

Though it's a credit to Coppola (who also penned the script) that she can effortlessly combine struggle with laughter, it is often too bent on making fun of how stupid Americans act overseas. The language barrier Bob experiences on set constantly feels fresh and funny, but the continual blonde actress joke (Anna Faris) gets old fast, slowing the emotional progression of Lost considerably. This may also have more to do with the talents of Bill Murray far exceeding those of Faris (big shock there), who can work any quirk with the right facial expression.

There is other fat besides the inclusion of Faris that could have been trimmed without losing the effervescent feeling of the story. The wonderfully energetic camera is not quite matched by the seemingly haphazard editing. The pacing of information of the key characters is organically well-structured, but scenes either extend further than needed, or cut away too quickly at a particularly engaging moment.

While Lost in Translation is flawed, it's still a joy to watch. The friendly chemistry between Johansson and Murray builds with a rare subtlety and their adventures, both physical and mental, are truly moving without ending up heavy-handed. It's also a great diversion, in the current realm of special effects blockbusters and the slew of horror films being released, to sit through a simple tale of two very different people having such a positive effect on one another.

But we found some great sushi!



Lost in Translation

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd October 2003

Box Office USA: $44.6M

Box Office Worldwide: 9

Budget: $4M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: American Zoetrope

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 211 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Bob Harris, as Charlotte, as Kelly, as John, Akiko Takeshita as Ms. Kawasaki, Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe as Press Agent, Kazuko Shibata as Press Agent, Take as Press Agent, Fumihiro Hayashi as Charlie, Hiroko Kawasaki as Hiroko, Daikon as Bambie, Catherine Lambert as Jazz Singer, Daiamondo Yukai as Commercial Director

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.