REVIEW: LOST IN TRANSLATION

CAST

Bill Murray (Zombieland)
Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Anna Faris (Mom)

Bob Harris, an aging American movie star, arrives in Tokyo to film an advertisement for Suntory whisky. Charlotte, a young college graduate, is left in her hotel room by her husband, John, a celebrity photographer on assignment in Tokyo. Charlotte is unsure of her future with John as she feels he is more interested in his celebrity models, particularly an American actress named Kelly, than her. Bob’s own 25-year marriage is tired as he goes through a midlife crisis.

One night, after a long photo shoot, Bob retreats to the hotel bar. Charlotte, sitting at a table with John and friends, notices Bob and has a waiter take him a cup of peanuts from her table. Bob and Charlotte have brief encounters each night at the hotel bar; eventually Charlotte invites Bob to meet with some local friends of hers. The two bond through their adventures in Tokyo, experiencing the differences between Japanese and American culture and their own generations.

On the penultimate night of his stay, Bob attracts the attention of the hotel jazz singer. Charlotte arrives at his room to go out for breakfast and discovers the woman in his room, leading to an argument over lunch. Later that night, during a fire alarm at the hotel, Bob and Charlotte reconcile and express how they will miss each other as they make one more trip back to the hotel bar.

The following morning, Bob is set to return to the United States. He tells Charlotte goodbye at the hotel lobby and watches her walk back to the elevator. In a taxi to the airport, Bob sees Charlotte on a crowded street and gets out and goes to her. He embraces Charlotte and whispers something in her ear. The two share a kiss, say goodbye and Bob departs.

Coppola has risen leaps and bounds with this incredible second film, a film that works through visual poetry where silence can speak volumes, an intensity in its characters and location, and its incredibly honest subtlety in the interaction between its characters. In its closing, just as in life, the leads don’t solve all their problems and yet because of all they have shared, they feel a little better anyway, and in that profoundly bittersweet melancholia that runs throughout the film, so should the audience too.

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