Cert: 15 Runtime: 101 mins Director: Sofia Coppola Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannson, Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris
I just feel so alone, even when I’m surrounded by other people
Recently I watched Lost In Translation and thinking wow this movie is 10 years old! Where does the time fly? Since Bill Murray hasn’t changed just greyer and Scarlett Johansson is just one of the best actresses of her generation. Nominated for four academy awards and one win for Sofia Coppola for original screenplay, for me this film should have won more. But what are we going to do it was against The Return of the King. So what is Lost in Translation? Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an American film actor, far past his prime. He visits Tokyo to appear in commercials, and he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson), the young wife of a visiting photographer. Bored and weary, Bob and Charlotte make ideal if improbable travelling companions. Charlotte is looking for “her place in life,” and Bob is tolerating a mediocre state-side marriage. Both separately and together, they live the experience of the American in Tokyo. Bob and Charlotte suffer both confusion and hilarity due to the cultural and language differences between themselves and the Japanese. As the relationship between Bob and Charlotte deepens, they come to the realization that their visits to Japan, and one another, must soon end. Or must they?
The film isn’t all mid-life-crisis slit-your-wrists drama, though – it is also hilarious at many points, mainly thanks to Bill Murray, who turns deadpan exasperation into an artform in a role specifically written for him. The pressure on him is high because he is basically the heart and soul of the film, but he nails the part and he’s so great I was really surprised to see that he was nominated for an Oscar (since the Academy rarely hands out awards to performances that are actually *good*). Scarlett Johansson is stunning and convincing in her role and more than holds her own against Murray. Giovanni Ribisi as the aforementioned dorky husband and Anna Faris as a brain dead actress are perfectly cast and it’s hard not to hate them.Sofia Coppola’s direction is amazing, both stylistically original, passionate and spellbinding. There are many gorgeous images of Tokyo on display here and she finds the right balance between these eye-catching visuals, Murray’s comedy and Johansson’s angst. Her style is very different from her father’s and shouldn’t be compared. She clearly shows that she is fully capable of having a career of her own without putting her faith in Hollywood nepotism.
Favourite scenes? Bob’s “Santury time” scene is pure comic gold, and the most emotional part, in my opinion, is the karaoke scene during Bob and Charlotte’s night out, when Murray sings his version of Bryan Ferry’s “More than this”. The scene, the way I see it, says so much about the characters and what they’re going through. In fact, I’d call it the most important scene in the entire film. Then again, maybe Sofia Coppola just wanted to hear Bill’s awesome singing voice (he’s actually really good!).Overall the film is just perfect. The acting, the direction, the soundtrack, plot, themes, humour, visuals… what’s not to like? I know some were turned off by the supposedly “slow” pace, which I just thought helped the movie become more captivating. The central relationship needs to take its time to feel realistic. Honestly, what do you want, car chases? It’s an existential drama, not Run Lola Run. Sheesh. For relaxing times… make it Lost in Translation time.