129 of 1001 Movies: Lost In Translation (2003)

Sophia Coppola directs this 2003 drama that is perfectly cast and set in the country of Japan. Without the correct casting and atmosphere for such a movie it would be a miss, but Lost in Translation has great selection. The movie runs a little slow at times, but even then Coppola weaves in interesting shots to appease the viewer. It seems to have all the workings of a movie I would like with it’s artsy style, and the sort of sad but hopeful characters.

Bob Harris is a fading movie star who is just taking what he can to earn some bucks, and this leads him to Japan where he is starring in a string of advertisements. Charlotte is in Japan with her photographer husband, but he is mostly away on business, and she rarely sees him. So the two are alone in Japan, and seem to both need company. When they bump into each other they click, and end up finding their own fun in Japan until they realize the eventual happening of parting ways.

Scarlett Johansson was supposedly only 17 at the time this movie was filmed. She approaches the role with maturity way beyond her years though. Johansson fits these sort of roles, and you would hope to see her in more stuff like this. She also makes the perfect companion for someone like Bill Murray. Even though there is a huge age difference between them you could see these two really hanging out as they are in the movie. Murray is good in this movie as well as Bob Harris.

To be honest, Murray is probably the one that kept this movie as lively as it was. He still has something that is naturally comedic about him, so the movie never becomes too slow. He seems to also really get the feeling of Bob Harris through facial expressions as well as just what he says. There also a few little twist in the story of his character that keep him someone you have conflicted feelings toward.

The movie does run a little slow at times. The characters seem bored with their lives, and that does read on screen. The shots that Coppola sometimes utilize were visually interesting though, like when Bob is sitting at the bar, and you have this line of lights that run down the bar. I couldn’t stop staring at that line of lights for some strange reason. Coppla also has a way with knowing what music to fuse into a scene at what time. There are times when we just see shots of the city to music, and it feels lively and interesting.

Lost In Translation is one of Sophia Coppola’s stronger works, and it shows a lot of her characteristics. She also does a really wonderful thing as a female director by being able to weave together certain emotions and feeling through various elements of things she puts in the movie. The casting also adds to the movie greatly as without the two leads you wouldn’t have a movie half as good.

Rating 8 of 10.

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