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on 1 June 2017
It has been a film I have been meaning to watch for a while, especially when it is a film many critics talk about and recommend. I thought it was wonderfully acted by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson and considering how old Scarlett was in this role it shows what talent she has. I did find the storyline quite weak, because the director obviously wanted the viewer to realise without help that these characters are struggling with their lives. But it was a delight to see that we can find love and friendship when we least expect it. At times you are holding your breath waiting for either Bob or Charlotte to make a move to make a more physical intimacy. All this done so subtly.
I have read that the Japanese critics were quite scathing in their reception of this film and I can understand this because the experiences of the characters when they interacted with the Japanese people seemed at times mocking. and condescending. But I do acknowledge that this was to high-light the feeling of isolation the characters were both feeling which was why they connected. I do recommend people to watch this film because it does make you think and even debate with other people and that is an accolade which I think any film maker would be proud of.
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on 9 July 2017
Great movie...great acting
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on 10 October 2017
I must admit, I didn't have a clue what this was about; nothing wrong with the performances or the Production Values, or score; but it didn't resonate with me in the slightest.

Operation head scratch was in full swing and I canvassed a few buddies who absolutely loved it.

I think it must be me who was out of kilter and not Ms. Coppola as by all yardsticks it has been a huge hit with the film going public.
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on 15 March 2017
Beautiful film with an amazing soundtrack
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on 29 August 2017
Quiet, slow-paced, strong and perfect. Terrific understated performances from a young Scarlett Johanssen and from Bill Murray.
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on 3 June 2017
What a shame! Hardly anything actually happens in this film. The film has some nice moments in it, but it goes at an incredibly slow pace.
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on 10 September 2006
Lost In Translation is my favourite movie of all time. its so original. its moving, funny, and although very slow moving in parts, worth sticking with to the brilliant, although mysterious, end. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson are superb in their roles as two people lost in the city of Tokyo, unsure of what to do and how to find their place. They are searching for that one thing that is missing in thier life..fun. You really care about the characters because they are so in depth, and the film really focuses on this and their relationship.

Eternal Sunshine is a clever, original and fantastic film, with great performances from the typically excellent Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, proving he can be a serious actor when he wants to be. Although confusing in parts, if you love films like Memento and the like, then this is definetely for you.
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on 29 January 2015
Je suis Lost in Translation, contrary to the most recent reviews. I worked once for a Tokyo-based company, and the film captures the quirkiness and strangeness of that city. The main characters' platonic relationship is funny and touching, and another star of the film is the hotel. Escapism worth watching.
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on 16 January 2015
I first saw Sofia Coppola's 2003 love story Lost in Translation a few years ago and was distinctly underwhelmed. Seeing it again I now realize that while it has irredeemable flaws which definitely qualify the inflated critical praise this film has received, it is actually much better than I had thought. The narrative concerns two Americans stuck in a luxury Tokyo Hotel. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a semi-retired Hollywood actor in Tokyo for a week to shoot a whiskey commercial. Married for 25 years, he is in mid-life crisis. The geographical distance between himself and his family emphasizes the emotional chasm that exists between him and them. Suffering from terminal jet lag he parks himself for the week in the sprawling `New York bar' on the top floor of the hotel. Charlotte (a 17 year old Scarlett Johansson) has just graduated college and is in Japan with her workaholic photographer husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) who is on a fashion shoot. Left alone most of the time she contemplates the sad state of her 2 year marriage and reflects on the fact that she doesn't really know what to do with her life. Also suffering from jet lag she meets Bob in the bar. Two insomniac kindred lost spirits connecting, the two tentatively embark on a relationship.

What plot there is centers on little incidents, little adventures Bob and Charlotte share. They eat sushi, visit a hospital to sort out a suspect toe, have a night on the town with Japanese friends which involves drinking, clubbing and karaokeing, and (in the film's most moving scene) watch a movie together on TV (La Dolce Vita of course) in her room and talk about life and marriage which is anything but sweet for either of them. "Does it get better?" asks the young Charlotte. "No," is middle aged Bob's brutally honest first response before he launches into a moving equivocation. When I first saw this I was annoyed at what I saw as the empty vacuity of the film. Now I appreciate that this is an unfair assessment. While the film stays with the two characters, there is an aching vulnerability inside both which Murray and Johansson evoke with great success. Murray cashes in his slapstick inclinations for droll dead pan reactions which really carry the film. There are a couple of set-piece comic scenes where his wit sparkles - running through his repertoire of impersonations of famous people for a photo session and then wrestling with a manic exercise machine in the hotel gym which yabbers at him in Japanese as it escalates out of control. For the most part though he scores through dead-pan reactions off the actions of others, especially the old guy in the hospital waiting room who tries to talk to him in Japanese while a couple of old ladies sitting behind crack up.

Johansson is also excellent at conveying Charlotte's precocious wisdom (she's a philosophy graduate) which while clicking with Bob, clashes spectacularly with her husband and the immature actress Kelly (Anna Faris) who they meet in the hotel. Coppola's own Oscar-winning script is adapted to a series of semi-improvised dialogs and situations which delicately sketch out the perils of luxury hotel existence disconnected from one's cultural roots. The ennui is palpably caught here by the writer-director and her actors who clearly believe in their material and the love story is moving more for the potential of what `could' happen rather than actually what `does' happen. The sensibility is one on the whole much closer to European cinema than to American and it is cause for celebration that the film made a handsome profit in the States. Hopefully this heralds a decrease in the kind of sentimental push-button manipulative mush that passes for entertainment in most Hollywood love comedies these days.

Sad to relate despite my new appreciation of Coppola's handling of the central relationship, my biggest objection to this film remains and my recommendation must stay qualified. I am a long term resident in Japan and am fed up with the negative way the country is perceived in the Western media and in films such as this one. This view is essentially a polarization. On one hand we have the `good' old traditional Japan, the land of ancient temples, ikebana, Buddhist ceremonies, gardens, healthy food and Mt. Fuji. On the other hand we have the `bad' new Japan, the land of brash glaring neon lights, pachinko parlors, wacky game centers, karaoke dens, exotic titty bars, and OTT theme nightclubs. Unfortunately, Coppola captures too many clichés in this film which have been done to death elsewhere and purvey an image of the Japanese people as a wacky, way out, nerdy lot who are completely disconnected from their `good' cultural roots. Awful cringe-worthy scenes include a middle aged S/M hooker sent to entertain Bob in his room, a ridiculously camp TV show Bob has to appear on (most of which was mercifully cut as one of the deleted scenes shows) and a Star Wars fight exit from a club with people firing lazar lights of the kind I have never seen in this country. Charlotte takes the obligatory ride on the bullet train to Kyoto to cue up clichéd pictures of `old' Japan while Bob gets the rough treatment from a dictatorial commercial director who thinks he's Akira Kurosawa and barks his orders at Bob in rude commands which are (yes) lost in translation. The main problem as I see it is that the Japanese themselves churn out films and TV programs that encourage this polarized perception of their country which they know not to be the truth. So for them this film isn't offensive and can be released with barely a head turned. Viewed by audiences overseas who don't know the reality of every day life in Japan (which believe me isn't that different from life in their own countries) and such a polarization is taken as a gospel truth. This film isn't anywhere near as bad as most foreign views of Japan (for example, Fred Schepsi's abysmal Tom Selleck vehicle Mr. Baseball) and where it stays with the central relationship it barely goes wrong, but the view of the country remains sadly myopic even if one can make the argument that it simply shows Japan as how it appears to two people newly arrived in the place.

The quality of this Momentum DVD release is excellent, the picture (16:9 / 1.85:1 widescreen letterbox) admirably displaying Lance Accord's excellent cinematography which animated the Japanese crew by using very little artificial light, even on outdoor scenes. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is crystal clear and showcases an excellently chosen playlist of 80s/90s pop songs. The final usage of The Jesus and Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey" resonates strongly in the mind after the film's moving conclusion. The disc comes with a feast of extras - a behind the scenes documentary, interviews with Coppola and Murray and deleted scenes. Probably if you are not familiar with Japan and are simply after a romantic comedy which is a bit different you will be won over by this film. Certainly fans of Coppola and the two lead actors should not hesitate...
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on 20 November 2007
Lost in Translation does something few other American films do (Stillwell's Metropolitan is the other one), and that is to give us a drama that consists of silences and dialogue, with no action. Only the French (e.g. Rohmer) do this well and consistently. It makes for intelligent scripting, nuanced acting, and rivetting viewing. For older men (like myself) it sets out calmly and without too much emotion the dilemma of meeting someone who is right thirty or forty years too late. By setting this late love in such an exotic and alienating place (the hotel and Tokyo beyond it), there is no need to exaggerate the emotions of the two main characters. Those reviewers who have given the film one star may be lacking a maturity of understanding that a film like this calls for. If you like understated French cinema, you'll revel in this. If only Hollywood allowed more films of this genre to be made, its reputation would receive a huge boost.
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