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Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are two Americans in Tokyo. Bob is a movie star in town to shoot a whiskey commercial, while Charlotte is a young woman tagging along with her workaholic photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi). Unable to sleep, Bob and Charlotte cross paths one night in the luxury hotel bar. This chance meeting soon becomes a surprising friendship. Charlotte and Bob venture through Tokyo, having often hilarious encounters with its citizens, and ultimately discover a new belief in life's possibilities.
Shot entirely on location in Japan, Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation is a valentine to the nature of close friendships and to the city of Tokyo. Ms. Coppola's film, from her original screenplay contemplates the unexpected connections we make that might not last...yet stay with us forever.
Sofia Coppola's second feature-length film focuses on two guests at a Tokyo hotel--Bob (Bill Murray), a middle-aged actor in town to film whiskey commercials, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), the young wife of a trendy photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) who is always out on a shoot. When Bob isn't on the job taking fragmented direction from the Japanese crew, he's receiving faxes on home decorating from his emotionally distant wife. And while her husband is away, Charlotte spends most of her time trying to motivate herself to do more than look out the window at Tokyo's urban sprawl. So when the two meet in the hotel bar, they strike up an unusual friendship, one that provides a welcome escape from their boredom and loneliness.^With LOST IN TRANSLATION, Coppola cements her reputation as a thoughtful and inventive filmmaker. Every element of the movie is pitch-perfect, from the dreamy, atmospheric score to the expertly timed editing to the lingering shots of the characters and the city. Most importantly, Coppola's minimalist script allows Murray and Johansson to give astonishingly moving yet subtle performances as people who are lost in the limbo of a foreign country, but find each other for comfort and companionship. Both heartbreakingly sad and hilariously funny, Coppola's LOST IN TRANSLATION is that rare movie in which everything is in its right place.
"...What's astonishing about Sofia Coppola's enthralling new movie is the precision, maturity and originality with which the confident young writer-director communicates so clearly in a cinematic language all her own..." 09/19/2003 p.65
New York Times
"...One of the purest and simplest examples ever of a director falling in love with her star's gifts. And never has a director found a figure more deserving of her admiration than Bill Murray..." 09/12/2003 p.E1
"...The joys of Sofia Coppola's LOST IN TRANSLATION come from watching Murray modify his trademark passive-aggressive style into played-straight comic bewilderment....This is a career worth watching and a movie worth watching, too..." 09/12/2003 p.1E
Los Angeles Times
"...The film itself -- tart and sweet, unmistakably funny and exceptionally well observed -- marks the arrival of 32-year-old writer-director Sofia Coppola as a mature talent with a distinctive sensibility and the means to express it..." 09/12/2003 p.C1
"...Sweet and sad at the same time it is sardonic and funny....Bill Murray has never been better..." 09/12/2003 p.31
"...Altogether remarkable....LOST IN TRANSLATION is found gold..." 10/02/2003 p.124
"It's packed with incident....It's all in Murray's face....It's a magnificent performance that doesn't seem like acting at all..." 07/01/2004 p.139
British Academy Awards, Bill Murray, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role,British Academy Awards, Scarlett Johansson, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role,Golden Globe, Lost in Translation, Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,Golden Globe, Bill Murray, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,Golden Globe, Sofia Coppola, Best Screenplay - Motion Picture,Independent Spirit, Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz, Best Feature,Oscar, Sofia Coppola, Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Oscar, Bill Murray, Best Actor in a Leading Role,Oscar, Sofia Coppola, Best Director,Oscar, Ross Katz, Sofia Coppola, Best Picture
Simply put, Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation is an amazing motion picture. There may be some controversy over whether she truly wrote the screenplay on her own (there are sequences that argue that she at least had help from someone with a little more experience in life and marriage), but that doesn't impact the final analysis. This study into the unfathomable depths of human relationships has more honesty than 95% of the movies I have seen this year...If you get the sense that I applaud this movie, you are correct. Lost in Translation requires a certain amount of patience, but it is by no means a slow or lugubrious endeavor. Director Coppola has done what any young director wants to accomplish: improve upon a successful first feature. As good as The Virgin Suicides is, Lost in Translation is superior in almost every way. When Top 10 lists are released at the end of the year, this title will feature prominently on a number of them (including mine).
The Japanese phrase "mono no aware," is a bittersweet reference to the transience of life. It came to mind as I was watching "Lost in Translation," which is sweet and sad at the same time it is sardonic and funny. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson play two lost souls rattling around a Tokyo hotel in the middle of the night, who fall into conversation about their marriages, their happiness and the meaning of it all...Well, I loved this movie. I loved the way Coppola and her actors negotiated the hazards of romance and comedy, taking what little they needed and depending for the rest on the truth of the characters. I loved the way Bob and Charlotte didn't solve their problems, but felt a little better anyway. I loved the moment near the end when Bob runs after Charlotte and says something in her ear, and we're not allowed to hear it...We shouldn't be allowed to hear it. It's between them, and by this point in the movie, they've become real enough to deserve their privacy.
DVD, Widescreen, English, French, Dolby, Dolby Digital (5.1)
Ebert & Roeper & The Movies
Two big thumbs up!
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Thelma Adams, US Weekly
Getting lost never felt so good!
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