Plot – A faded movie star, and a neglected young woman forms an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo – Lost in Translation.
Director – Sophia Coppola
Released – 2003
Intelligent, mature and absolutely marvellous, Sofia Coppola’s second feature film Lost in Translation benefits from great acting, beautiful visuals and skilled direction, but what sets the tone is the charming soundtrack gently guiding you through the myriad of bittersweet emotions felt by Bob (Murray) and Charlotte (Johansson) during their time in Tokyo.
Trying to summarise the movie is an arduous task because of the wide range of conflicting emotions that Lost in Translation sparks within the viewer are hard, to sum up in words. Coppola examines and lays bare the loneliness, insomnia and depression that being far from home can induce, especially when travelling to a foreign country where the culture is entirely different to the one you’re used to. Her direction is amazing, both stylistically fresh, delicate and spellbinding. Tokyo has never looked more beautiful, and she finds the perfect balance between memorable visuals, Murray’s comic timing, and Johansson’s aimlessness.
Exuding a sophisticated beauty, Johanssen is stunning and simply brilliant as a lonely young wife of a photographer (Ribisi), left questing her marriage and life choices alone in Japan. She is obviously alluring, but her youthful good looks and skill as an actor hide a deeper understanding of the world and draw you towards her just as Bob is.
Over his career, Murray has a tendency to blow hot and cold, yet here he is simply at his charming best. Channelling a former film/tv star in a way that blurs the line between Bob and Murray’s career, it’s easy to see why these two lost souls could connect in a physical and emotional way. Bob looking for someone to make him feel young/desirable again, Charlotte looking for someone to notice her and give her life meaning. Johanssen and Murray share an undeniable chemistry, one that would be tough to fake.
Overall, Lost in Translation is near perfect. The acting, the direction, the soundtrack, themes, humour and cinematography, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this movie. Sure, some viewers might feel put off by the movie’s slow pacing, which I agree is the case, moving in a delicate and leisurely manner. But I feel this did more to help the plot and the central relationship than hinder it.