One of my favorite directors of all time is Sofia Coppola, not because of her relation to one of the greatest filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola, but because she’s crafted movies that depict alienation, human connection, and female struggles in such an artful way such as Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides. But there is one movie I struggled to connect with and found myself extremely uncomfortable watching, and it was Lost in Translation.
It has all the elements of a Sofia Coppola film, Scarlett Johansson, and Bill Murray, set in a rainy, neon-lit Japan. However, despite how beautiful it all sounds, the strokes just don’t blend well.
How to Stream or Download Lost in Translation
To stream or to download the film from a digital store, click on the Download button at the end of the review. If you want to see more of Bull Murray, check out also Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). If you’re a fan of Scarlet Johansson – watch Iron Man 2 (2010), Captian America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Lucy (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infity War (2018), Captian Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019), or Black Widow (2021).
The Movie Review
We meet Bob Harris, an aging movie star who flies to Tokyo to shoot a $2 million commercial for Suntory whiskey. Much like his unfulfilling career, he’s unsatisfied with how his personal life turned out, with his stay-at-home wife faxing him messages as she looks after their kids.
In the same hotel Bob stays at, a young American college graduate Charlotte is left to her own devices as she tails her celebrity-photographer husband, who has an assignment in Japan. Both feeling lost in a foreign land with huge cultural barriers, the two meet and find solace in each other’s company.
After taking trips to Japan during an existential period of her life, director and writer Sofia Coppola got inspired to write a romantic melancholy set in a Tokyo hotel. During her stay, she would always take note of the feelings of jet lag, which she manages to replicate in this movie. I don’t know how, but it’s amazing.
There’s a constant feeling of dreaminess that we often see in a Sofia Coppola film, and feminine elements that don’t feel exploitative, especially the shot the movie opens with of Johansson’s backside.
Lost in Translation is a poetic movie about loneliness in a country where you don’t speak the language, but my main issue was with the couple. The romance between Bob and Charlotte isn’t particularly wholesome, and it’s probably because of their age gap.
What makes it worse is that Scarlett Johansson was 17 during the filming of this movie, and Bill Murray was 52. Of course, nothing more happens between the couple, and the decision was meant to emphasize the true reason why they bonded, but it was still unsettling to see. They didn’t really have any traits that matched each other except the fact that the two characters were white.
When it comes to capturing realism and beautiful visuals, the movie is phenomenal in it, but it just fails to be engaging in any way.
We feel the pain of being an outsider, feelings of aimlessly walking around in a city and having no real purpose in life, and too much of the boredom that I ultimately felt bored watching it. That being said, the cinematography is gorgeous, every frame is worth hanging on a wall. The Japan-pop and dream pop music has a strong emotional impact and adds to Lost in Translation’s authenticity. Both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson did their part as actors, and I didn’t hate them here at all.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Lost in Translation is a good movie that got lost in translation. It’s simple and memorable, with good moments and a nice message, it just didn’t leave me satisfied. The film moves slowly at times and takes patience, and it may not work for some.
The way the two come to terms with one other is slow but steady, and it goes well beyond the stupid jokes about how Japanese people speak words differently than we do. Both characters embark on an adventure that is difficult to describe since it is best experienced rather than articulated. It’s quite nice and manages to be both subtle and passionate all at once.