Lost In Translation - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lost In Translation Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2010
With performances as good as this, your film is destined for greatness. "Lost in Translation" is a fairly simple story that is told wonderously and really leaves you wanting so much more at the end. That can be a good or bad thing for some films, but the ones that pull it off great and leave you satisfied while still wishing you had ore coming are the ones that succeed, and that is this film. Scarlett Johanssen and Bill Murray have some of the best on-screen chemistry I have ever seen and they make the scenery that much nicer to look at. Both on business trips while away from their significant other, they begin to feel a connection. Where this film takes them and their explorations shown are truly unique and fantastic on film. Beautifully shot, well-acted, and superbly directed, "Lost in Translation" is worthy of every award it has ever achieved.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2013
Like all of Sofia Coppola's films, Lost in Translation is beautiful, intimate, and mesmerizing. Visually stunning--with a brilliant use of music--and exceptionally written and acted, the film is a reflection on life, freedom, and the lessons we learn from one another and from finding our place in the world. Bravo!
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2009
Had to rewatch this as I've now been to Japan and seen it for myself. It makes the film much more believable and touches me in a different way now, a whole new experience as I can relate to the story and the surroundings.

The thing that struck me is how accurate the film is, I know exactly how the main characters feel (mainly Johansson) in and amongst the huge sprawling, towering, crowded metropolis that is Tokyo. The strange feeling of being alone around hundreds and not being able to communicate, not really being noticed, it is a perfect visual picture of feeling isolated or living in a strange solitary state.

Coppola captures the small niches of the country and its people, how they live, eat and relax etc...its a very different world believe me and you can see this in Coppola's direction and use of locations. Of course the performances by Murray and Johansson are brilliant, just right, understated and subtle. Murray starts off in his familiar dry satire type way but evolves into a much deeper person, finishing on a very emotional finale that does put a lump in your throat. And not forgetting Faris as the superstar airhead, very good (and accurate) portrayal there, loved it.

The atmosphere and visuals of the film are glorious of course, being filmed entirely in Tokyo and a little in Kyoto. It all looks so familiar now, makes me wanna go back. Much of the film was actually filmed live too, in front of hundreds of Japanese people who had no clue they were making a film! again that's impressive believe me. It also shows how different the Japanese are, no one batted an eyelid to the filming, they saw it as normal or uninteresting and no one recognised Bill Murray. Not a clue who he was and they didn't much care either, anywhere else and people would crowd around making a huge scene.

The plot is loose and pretty dull in places I admit, if you have no interest in Japan then you won't like this methinks. I believe a little interest in the country/culture helps here. But essentially its just the two main characters chatting, eating, meeting and going about their daily routines in Tokyo. Over time they fall in love but can't seem to reach out and express this to each other. They both have family/relationship situations which hold them back and make things difficult, its actually quite a realistic little story.

Wandering around Tokyo lost a daze of neon lights and bizarre cultural differences. Murray is good with his little work/business sequences (dotted throughout) which offer some comedy, whilst Johansson does more discovering with a segment in Kyoto. A great couple of scenes with Faris offer more laughs when she promotes a Western action flick her character stars in. And a glorious small dinner sequence with Johansson, Faris and the underrated Giovanni Ribisi which involves much awkward small talk and slobbering as Faris and Ribisi's characters flirt.

Can't not mention the touching, soft, emotional almost spiritual soundtrack throughout. Absolutely gorgeous choices of music which compliment the individual sequences beautifully. As said the ending is a real tear jerker which you don't think will get you but it actually does. The track by 'The Jesus and Mary Chain' is playing as Murray's character leaves Johansson behind, gotta say this choked me up as its a lovely scene and really makes you care for the characters.

A classic underrated love tale that manages to grab you when you think your above it. A surprise hit for me plus a wonderful memory of a beautiful country.
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2007
A beautiful, subtle journey detailing two lonely people's lives and the chance meeting they encounter with one another in Japan. Richly detailed in culture, this is a moving film that shows two Americans mumbling their way through a city they first both hate, but come to love just for the sake of being with each other. Murray shows a different, lighter side that we haven't seen from him before, and Johansson is just as stunning as a distressed woman looking for companionship once her husband proves to be a consistent no-show in her life. This is a very touching film, with a quiet score to complement the two wonderfully restrained performances by Murray and Johannson. The ending is heartbreaking especially, I don't think it will ever leave me. Not everyone's cup of tea to be sure, but definitely a work of art.
Super Reviewer
July 22, 2007
You might have had a great day, a beautiful day, a perfect day, one time before, back in your past somewhere, a time out of familiar surroundings and away from friends and family, like in another world, a time spent entirely with a stranger (with whom you know you will never meet again), doing unusual things for the both of you but sharing them together ... and perhaps only have one picture or one thing to remember that day. Well this film recalls the story and feelings behind the picture, the memory of the day, growing more golden with every viewing. It helps if it already happened to you.
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2011
Looking for a good definition of what an Indie film is like? "Lost in Translation" is your answer. It's not a bad thing or a good thing, but what can be said about this film is this: "Lost in Translation" is the epitome of what an Indie film should be -- an absolutely mesmerizing, out-of-this-world, soothing yet melancholy film.

Right off the bat, gorgeously rich camera shots are riddled about -- infused with a score that's used to a minimum, but when utilized, it drives powerful emotions that are difficult to pinpoint. However, these emotions aren't stirred by these elements alone -- they're correlated with the narrative which makes it such a powerful yet elegant picture. In other words, without the use of deliberate dialogue or on-screen actions to drive a point home, it takes full advantage of the art of music and visuals to tell a commanding story. Superb direction without a doubt.

These merits wouldn't mean a thing without great performances. Bill Murray doesn't disappoint. He provides an incredibly enticing, reserved, nuanced performance in every single frame that he's in. This performance alone shows how dynamic of an actor Murray truly is. Eh, the same can't particularly be said about Scarlett Johansson, which really isn't her fault; she's usually sharing the same scenes with Murray, who's absolutely dominating in every scene, so as you can imagine, she gets the dimmer spot in the limelight. Regardless, she brings enough acting talent to the table to actively develop a convincing chemistry with Bill Murray. That alone is impressive enough.

"Lost in Translation" manages to be more than just a movie for entertainment -- it is an experience. Coppola manages to find the perfect balance between its poignant and pleasurable comedic moments to its more saddening tones. Thus, by the final frames of the movie, "Translation"'s narrative has clutched so tenaciously onto the audience that whatever the narrative wills to do, the audience will have to follow along.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2012
This movie suffers from its uneventful premise, but is elevated by Murray and Johansson. They do a great job portraying the different lifestyles between cultures and generations. Both put on very good performances that really pull this film together.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2012
Fascinatingly funny! It's not a film with a regular coherent plot, but because this one's different. It's a visual allegory, a tour of intrigue and a look at a man and woman's soul.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2012
Charlotte: Let's never come here again because it would never be as much fun.

"Everyone wants to be found."

Lost in Translation is a beautiful character driven film from Sophia Coppola. It's clear that Lost in Translation won't be for everyone. If you're one of those people that needs a film to have a core plot; you better look elsewhere, because that is not what Lost in Translation is about. There is no plot. None. It's all about two characters and the relationship they form in Japan. This could come of as slow, boring, and pointless to a lot of people that need a standard plot to keep them watching. If you do like movies that are all character, this is a great example of how to make one. It's quiet, low-key, subtle, and brilliant. Coppola did a phenomenal job, but the movie relies on two people to carry it, and carry it they did.

Those two people are Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Bill Murray plays Bob. Bob is a has been actor, who is in Japan to do advertisements for a whiskey brand. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte. Charlotte is in Japan with her photographer husband, but she seems more alone than with him. You can tell neither of their marriages are going smoothly right now. I had tons of respect for both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson before watching Lost in Translation. My respect for Bill Murray couldn't possibly go any higher, but Johansson made me like her even more than I already did; and I already loved her as an actress. And that isn't just because I'm a guy, and she's hot as hell. She gives really good performances, and her work here is among, if not, her best.

Lost in Translation is sweet and funny. It isn't funny in the typical Murray comedy style. The humor is subtle and won't have you dying of laughter. The best way I can describe this film, is that it feels like real life. Most of our lives aren't filled wall to wall with excitement. Their pretty low-key, just like the movie. Murray and Johansson play their characters like real life human beings. There's never a moment where the two just throw themselves at each other, like a lesser movie would do. Their relationship is played out like it would in real life.

This is a must watch film from Coppola. She proved with her sophomore effort, that she wasn't just a one hit wonder, when she made The Virgin Suicides. She has a great understanding of how to make character driven movies, and how to make them in a beautiful, understated sort of way. I for one, love when directors choose to keep things quiet in movies like this. There's no need for over the top dialogue or actions. Everything that is said in Lost in Translation is absolutely perfect.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
This is Sofia Coppola's follow up to her smart and sublime debut The Virgin Suicides, and it's a great next step in her career. In a way, this sort of seemed a little like the works of Alexander Payne, only a bit more hip and indie. The film follows two people: Bob Harris, an actor who is in Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial, and Charlotte, a young college graduate who is also in Tokyo, having tagged along with her photographer husband who is in town on business. Charlotte's husband seems more preoccupied with wanting to spend time working and hanging out with a ditzy actress than his wife, so she spends a lot of time bored, sleep deprived, and wandering around alone. One night she and Bob, who is similarly bored and lonely, meet up at their hotel's bar and start to form a bond that just might be the thing both need to lift their collective spirits.

This is a very quiet and subdued film, but I liked that. It's wry, funny, bittersweet, and a tad melancholy, yet it's also very charming and even slightly whimical. I'd also say it's very realistic in how the characters interact and how things end, It reminded me of going on a road trip and experiencing the full range of emotions and experiences that one could go through in just a short amount of time.

This is a slow paced film that is not concrned with wrapping things up in a nice tidy bow and just rushing from one thing to another, but again, for me, that's okay. We need these kinds of things once in a while. Again, it's a lot like life, which isn't always fast paced and super exciting. This obviously isn't a film for all tastes, but if what you've read about it so far sounds interesting, then give it a go.

The film is all about wayward souls adrift and alone, even in a place as crowded as Japan, but despite the isolation (mentally, culturally, and linguistically), and difficulty with communication barriers, this film proves through the bonding of Bob and Charlotte that not all hope is lost, and it's still possible to make a meaningful connection despite all that's going on. Yeah, the ending is one of "those" types where it's ambigupus and open ended, but I think it's the best possible way they could have concluded this.

With a film like this, the themes and stuff won't work unless you've got some great performers to fill the roles, and Coppola struck gold here. Murray long ago cemented his statu as a talented guy, and he delivers one of his best performances here, which, if I'm not mistaken, was the beginning of his sad sack routine, which is something I really grove on. He's funny and pulls off the sadness and boredom stuff well, so it's a win win all around. Johansson truly made herself a star here, and she excels at bringing Charlotte's frustration, insecurities, and doubts to life. Ribisi is decent as Charlotte's husband John, but it's a little one note and underdeveloped. Anna Faris is okay, but also kinda one note as the ditzy actress Kelly whom John knows and could possibly have a deeper connection to.

By this point it should be obvious how I feel about this film. It's got great cinematogrpahy, good music, and, though it sounds shallow, any film that starts by showing a closeup of Scarlett Johansson's butt in see-through pink panties has to be worth a look.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2012
Sofia Coppola's 'Lost in Translation' is an aptly named film that portrays more of the talents that made Coppola the filmmaker she is today. It may be the film that represents her techniques the best. Again coaxing great performances, especially from the impressive Murray, the film was still unable to completely capture me as the viewer. It is not easy to resonate completely with the film, but its still a solid piece of filmmaking. The cinematography and acting prove to be its high points, but i was not completely satisfied with its script. Worth a shot for anyone, though.
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2012
After the first thirty minutes, the movie becomes much slower and a lot more somber. Despite the crawl, Lost In Translation is still a fantastic comedy/drama due to the believable performances (especially from Murray, who still has comedic timing and delivery down to a science), a consistent and captivating mood, and Coppola's ability to maximize the spectacle, feeling, and visual diversity of the Tokyo setting.
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2011
It is not easy to talk about "Lost in Translation". Sofia Coppola's second film as a director is in part about things we never talk about. While its two protagonists try to find mutual solace in each other, their silence is as expressive as their words. This is a film that believes that an individual can have a valuable relationship with someone else without becoming part of that person's life. Now I am not married but I can understand pretty well that it is easier for a stranger with whom you share a moment in the bar or corridor to understand your problems better than your husband or wife. Here is an extract from Roger Ebert's great review of the film: "We all need to talk about metaphysics, but those who know us well want details and specifics; strangers allow us to operate more vaguely on a cosmic scale. When the talk occurs between two people who could plausibly have sex together, it gathers a special charge: you can only say "I feel like I've known you for years" to someone you have not known for years."

In this marvelous story, the two lonely individuals that merge the illusions of what they have and what they could have are two Americans. The emotional refuge, Tokyo. We have Bob Harris (Bill Murray), and actor in his fifties who was once a star, and is now supplementing his incomes with the recording of a whisky commercial. On the other side of the telephone, a frightening reality: his wife, his sons, and the mission of choosing the right material for heaven knows what part of the house. When we consider Bob's situation, we realise that Lost in Translation is also a meditation on the misery of fame. Certainly fame has great (perhaps greater than disadvantages) advantages but then there are the obligations, the expectations...

We also have Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a woman in her twenties who is accompanying her husband, a photographer addicted to work, on a business trip. But it could said it is as if she is alone anyway. Her world, just like Bob's, is reduced to strange days in the bedroom, the corridors, the hotel's swimming pool, and the bar, the perfect destination for victims of sleeplessness and wounded soul. The bar is the place Bob and Charlotte meet for the first time. They talk, little, but just enough. Once their dislike for parts of their lives are established, they begin sharing times that feel dead to be able to feel alive.

Bob and Charlotte are souls in transition for whom, surrounded and confused by exotic rituals, and a different language, allows them a moment to lose their identities. Both characters provoke similar feelings form different experiences. There are no kisses or crazy nights between them, but only a shared intimacy in which a night out, a walk in the streets, a session of karaoke becomes a powerful expression of their affection an complicity. The relationship we all await only happens in our minds and the protagonists, whom we are not allowed to know everything they say and desire. Tokyo metaphorically speaking is the third character in the film. The bright colors, the noise of the city...just everything evokes the various spiritual awakenings of the characters.

It ends on a perfect note leaving the relationship of the characters undecided. This is rare gem in modern day cinema and one of my favorite films. Check it out.

*** Just an add on to this review. I was asked what I thought Murray's character whispered in Johansson's ear at the end of the film. I think the filmmaker left it up the viewer to decide and I've heard they're is audio on youtube that brings it up so you can hear it ( I've not seen it) but my thinking is that he said " I have never loved anyone as much as you. There are a million reasons I can't be with you, but I will spend everyday for the rest of my life wishing I had done it anyway. I'll always miss you." Maybe thats just me being a hopeless romantic. Watch the film and see what you think.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2011
A little special film. It's based a lot on feelings. And Bill and Scarlett does a good job of letting us read their feelings without saying much. You can tell it's directed by a woman. And I think that that is just what this movie needs to be what it is. I liked it a lot.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2011
The film played a long really well and I completely understood and felt connected to the main characters, however by the end I was left feeling "what on earth was the point in that". Yes I understand they bonded over a holiday after being the only two who seem out of place in a busy and futuristic Tokyo but there was no resolution. They agreed to meet back in America but that's where it ended. I know it's kind of left open to leave it to the viewer to imagine but it was a bit too much.
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2011
A genius beautiful movie that truly shows a life of a lonely person. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson are genius actors and should have gotten more recognition from this movie. The plot is phenomenal, a movie that has a deeper meaning that a small few can comprehend. The setting of Tokyo is beautiful. My only tiff is some parts are slow, but that is a small price for such a genius and amazing movie.
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2011
Really illustrates the Japanese culture and how western people look at it from the outside. It's a film about how cultures and languages clashes and make life hard for the people from outside the country. The beauty of this film is that the characters feel "alone". Bob and Charlotte have similar problem and become very close when they are away from their wife and husband. A film that is so unique and people who like to travel can relate to it.
Super Reviewer
½ December 17, 2006
Two Americans, one an ageing Hollywood star, the other a bored young housewife, find a common bond when stranded in the twilight hours of Tokyo. Sofia Coppola's fluffy piece of cinematic confection was very warmly received upon it's release, but this comedy drama is really rather lacking in the latter and relies entirely on the formidable charms of Bill Murray's personality and Scarlett Johansson's looks. Murray is his usual appealing self, displaying his trademark stoic bewilderment and laconic quips when faced with some of the more bizarre aspects of Japanese popular culture. There are some funny scenes, usually at the expense of the fatuous and self absorbed actress played by Anna Faris who bears a striking resemblance to Cameron Diaz and I actually really enjoyed this film first time around when viewed in the company of friends and alcohol. Deprived of that convivial atmosphere however, it seemed to be a whole lot of nothing. Appealing but empty.
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2011
I have never seen Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" as a romance. This is a film about intimacy. Don't confuse the two here. These are two characters who are dealing with the same issues (disenchantment, loneliness, depression, ennui - the same issues present in all of her pictures) who happen to find each other at the right place at the right time. When I say that they 'find each other,' I'm again, not talking about romance. These are two people who need each other as mirrors. They need this intimacy to identify with each other and, separately, realize what they need in life. As the audience, their revelations are not privy to us, and that's how it should be. We are allowed to decide for ourselves what it is that we need to learn. Sofia Coppola is never concerned with telling us anything, she invites us into the scenes and by doing this we become apart of Bob and Charlotte's journey, knowing and not knowing just as much as them. It takes a very special filmmaker do achieve something like this. With the help of her fluid and symbolic photography and Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson's mesmerizing and gentle performances, Coppola makes "Lost in Translation" an unforgettable experience.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2008
Lost in Translation is subdued, melancholy, and off-beat. There are lots of uncomfortable silences, lingering glances, and there's a general feeling of despair that hangs over the heads of the two main characters. It's not very hard for a movie like this to appeal to me.

I loved the fact that the movie was set in beautiful Tokyo, that really helped to push the theme of being "lost" on several different levels. Lost in a very different culture. Lost because of the barrier of language. Lost in relationships. Lost in the past. Lost in the future. You get the idea. The openess of the ending was both admirable and frustrating. You're free to put your own epilogue into the story, for better or for worse.

For all the great things that Lost in Translation had going for it (including fine performances from Murray and Johansson), I didn't completely love it. No major complaints, it's just the kind of movie that I like, not love.
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