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Customer Review

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good old-fashioned love story, 16 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Lost in Translation [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This beautiful film is very much a modern 'Brief Encounter'. As such, it's not so much about action as deep underlying passion.
Bill Murray plays movie star Bob Harris being paid two million dollars to advertise whiskey in Tokyo "when I could be doing a play somewhere". He's thoroughly disillusioned. He doesn't know anyone in Japan. His days are spent working with a director with no shared language and his interpreter appears not to be telling him everything. His nights are spent in the hotel's piano bar lying to fans about why he's really there. He can't wait to leave.
Scarlett Johansson plays recent graduate Charlotte who, with no definite career plan, decided to join her photographer husband on his business trip. With her husband always working, the trip's not all she planned. She's lonely. She calls a friend and tells her about a shrine she visited "and I didn't feel anything". She resorts to self-help CDs.
One night, unable to sleep, the two meet in the hotel bar. After a couple more chance encounters, Charlotte invites Bob out with some friends and they finally begin to appreciate their surroundings ... and each other ... but they still love their spouses.
Some reviewers have suggested that this film pokes fun at the Japanese, but I disagree. It's more fish-out-of-water humour. Bob in particular doesn't understand the culture surrounding him, but, with Charlotte, he finally begins to appreciate it.
The cover describes this as "a laugh-out-loud portrayal". Well, there are some hilarious scenes, but they're not numerous enough to warrant that accolade. It doesn't matter. This film has just the right balance of humour and drama.
This is one of my favourite films - a good old-fashioned love story with stunning cinematography - the rural tranquillity contrasting with the bright city lights, crowds with multi-coloured umbrellas cross rain-splattered roads, reflections in closing lift doors.
Watch this film when you're in the mood for a weepy - you won't be disappointed.
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