Lost in Translation (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner23/10/2003

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Sofia Coppola’s follow-up to The Virgin Suicides is a thoroughly delightful film with terrific performances from its two leads – it’s also one of the best films of the year.

Sofia Coppola’s impressive first film The Virgin Suicides was extremely well-received by both critics and audiences, meaning that great things were expected of her second film. Thankfully she’s passed the ‘difficult second movie’ stage with flying colours, as Lost In Translation is a thoughtful, moving film that’s a pure delight from beginning to end.

Insomniac Actor Hits Bar

Bill Murray stars as Bob Harris, an ageing, jaded Hollywood actor staying in Japan to shoot some lucrative whisky commericals. Bored and unable to sleep, he meets fellow insomniac Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) in the bar of his luxury hotel. Charlotte is a young bride, accompanying her photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi) on a work trip shooting rock bands and starlets. Since she’s equally bored, the two strike up a friendship and start spending more and more time together, exploring the bizarre world of Tokyo.

The relationship between Bob and Charlotte is beautifully drawn and forms the basis of the movie. The effect they have on each other is truly touching – she reawakens his sense of fun and he, in turn, gently reassures her regarding her future. There is also remarkable sexual tension between them, but Coppola wisely decides not to act on it – for once, however, the idea that these two characters COULD get together doesn’t require the kind of leap of imagination normally associated with Woody Allen movies.

That the relationship works as well as it does is entirely down to the note-perfect performances from both Murray and Johansson. Murray slightly reigns in his usual smartass persona and the result is his best performance since Rushmore.

Johansson Tipped For Greatness

Johansson is heart-breakingly good and proves beyond shadow of a doubt that she’ll be an actress to watch in the future. There’s good support, too, from Ribisi, but also from Anna Faris as a ditzy blonde starlet allegedly based on Cameron Diaz.

There are many wonderful scenes and moments in the film. Highlights include the opening credits (for Shallow And Obvious Reasons); the glorious karaoke sequence and an unexpectedly brilliant final scene that is, quite simply, perfect. It’s also beautifully shot (watch for the sequence of Johansson in the rain) by cinematographer Lance Acord and has a cool soundtrack to boot.

To sum up, Lost In Translation is genuinely unmissable and one of the best films of next year. It's extremely moving and beautifully written with Oscar-worthy performances from its two stars. Highly recommended.

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Lost in Translation (tbc)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 00:02

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