Review: Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation

Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Starring
: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Giovanni Ribisi

Fading actor Bob Harris has been sent to Tokyo, Japan to fulfill his latest contractual obligation: to promote Japanese whiskey Suntory as its new spokesperson. Shortly after his arrival and encountering an overly enthusiastic welcome party, Bob meets fellow American and estranged newlywed Charlotte. Soon enough, it becomes abundantly clear that neither one of them are truly happy with their respective lifestyles, and it’s because of this similarity that the two begin to form an unfathomably strong bond; a bond that aids them both in filling the voids present within their lives.

What Coppola has crafted here is essentially one of the most entertaining and flatout original pieces of cinema I’ve ever laid eyes on and, to be honest, whatever I say cannot do it enough justice, but I’ll try my best. To begin, the Tokyo setting is absolutely gorgeous, and fits the film perfectly in the sense of successfully exacerbating each character’s plight; what with their already lingering feelings of emptiness made worse by being in a faraway locale surrounded by strangers they can’t even communicate with. Furthermore, I’ve always had a thing for Japan, especially Tokyo, and some pretty fantastic cinematography has managed to reinforce said feelings tenfold.

Coppola’s writing and direction are also pretty top notch, with the script being absolutely superb, allowing Murray to shine in all his character’s hilariously quirky and slightly awkward glory. Even though the film’s narrative isn’t the most complex, it’s still engrossing enough to the point where even viewers can relate to the situations present within the lives of both central characters. This in mind, the performances put forth by both Murray and Johansson are extraordinary and heartfelt, and I for one agree that this is hands down one of Murray’s best, if not his very best performance. Hell, even Ribisi is pretty respectable as Charlotte’s estranged photographer husband.

With a perpetually beautiful setting, great writing, and Coppola’s apparent ability to bring out the best in the entire cast, Lost in Translation is easily one of my all-time favorite films. It’s funny, heartfelt, and in my always humble opinion, damn near perfect, but as with most other films of its type, I will admit that some may find it more appealing than others. Qualms aside, I implore you, see this film as soon as possible.

Rating: 10/10

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