Lost in Translation Review

Words by Naomi Jeffreys


Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansonn star in this quiet, reflective Romantic Comedy about two people who should so be together, but the ambiguous ending leaves us, the audience wanting more. Directed by Sofia Coppola.

The film follows; ‘a fading movie star (Murray) with a sense of emptiness, and a neglected young wife (Johansson) meet as strangers in Tokyo and form an unlikely bond.

Released in 2003, the film was commercial and critical success. earning $119,723,856 million worldwide, which is staggering considering its budget of $4 million.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and  Best Original Screenplay – which Coppola won. What is more, Johansson won a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

To the film itself, there is something a quiet about this film. It reminds me of Wong Kar Wai’s ‘Chungking Express’, the characters of Bob and Charlotte are lost, not only in translation, but lost in life. And, in each other, they find something which is missing, a part of themselves.

Coppola constantly gently pokes fun at the Japanese culture, small showers, the reliance on technology, the noises, the alien smells. There are many scenes, inter-scenes, one might call them, with Johansson wandering around the city and then escaping to the solitude of the suburbs.

However, where Murray and Johansson underplay their characters, making them achingly real and familiar. Their partners, their husband and wife, seem sadly one dimensional. Giovanni Ribisi (‘Friends’) plays Joahnson’s photographer husband, John. Decked with flashy glasses and a yearn for nothing talk. He feels sadly unreal.

If you’re looking for quick wit, excellent acting and a film which pushes the boundaries of its genre. Then watch this almost perfect film.


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