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:: Lost In Translation

Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola, Lost In Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson, is a simple and beautiful film about the unlikelihood of two people meeting at the exact same points in their lives and forming a powerfully deep connection. They meet and fall in love at crucial moments in their lives amidst the chaotic and frenzied pace of Tokyo.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray), an ageing screen actor finds himself in Tokyo shooting Whiskey commercials. Overwhelmed by the city, lonely and disillusioned with his life, career and marriage, Bob notices and strikes up a friendship with philosophy college graduate and newlywed Charlotte (Scarlet Johansson) a young contemplative girl in her early twenties. Confused, lonely and disillusioned also the two become companions filling their time apart together through the realisation that although they are decades apart they share a common bond in their lives. As Charlotte’s photographer husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) leaves for a few days, Charlotte and Bob find themselves in each other’s company more and more. The two venture out on a wild night in town and send humorous faxes to each other and eventually spend the night together openly sharing their innermost thoughts in matters of love, life and relationships. In one of the most beautifully moving scenes in the film, Charlotte asks Bob if life gets any easier and he honestly tells her it doesn’t and confesses the most frightening moment in his life.

As their time together ticks away the two realise the strength of their feelings for one another and that they both must go back and be with their spouses. The final scene sees the two cement their relationship forever.

Coppola’s first film, The Virgin Suicides, was quite an impressive directorial debut. Lost In Translation has demonstrated and showcased her writing ability in directing a less ambiguous film with emotional depth and maturity, brilliantly making those inarticulate life moments poignant under her subtle and gently flawless direction.

The genius combination of Murray and Johansson holds the film together, with scenes that allow each actor to take their characters as far as they can, exposing the many intimate thoughts and feelings that bring these two together. Murray, the improvisation king, manages to retain his trademark humour throughout the film, in a more toned down and underplayed manner, demonstrating a deep sincerity for his character. Johansson is the perfect match as the witty, intelligent, graduate soaking in all he has on offer but not afraid to challenge him when the occasion is called for.

Complied of a team that are mainly Coppola Snr regulars, Sofia has retained a partnership with Music Producer Brain Reitzell who brilliantly produced the Virgin Suicides and again does an impressive job with the films soundtrack.

A moving experience to watch out for that creeps up on you and stays with you.
One of the best films of 2003. Must see.