Lost In Translation Reviews
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.