Combine a 19-year-old with the experienced Bill Murray, double the wit, triple the clever dialogue, mix in Japan and you're lost. Lost in Translation , that is.
Bill Murray stars as Bob Harris, a famous movie actor who has come to Tokyo to shoot a $3 million vodka ad. Bob is wallowing in self-pity and is contemplating a prison break from his ritzy hotel when he locks eyes with the lovely and quick witted Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson). The two have an automatic chemistry and share a quirky sense of humor, which makes for great laughs.
Johansson plays a sweet, naïve newlywed who has come to Tokyo with her husband, who is working as a photographer. Charlotte spends most of her days in her hotel room while her husband is off on photo shoots. Bob, on the other hand, is out on the town everyday, working on the vodka ad, although he would much rather be half way around the world. The two's immediate attraction comes from their longing for companionship. Each are lost in a land where the language is unfamiliar, culture is foreign, but the vodka is good.
Murray is often found trying to decipher various Japanese accents and words to the audience's amusement. Murray's simple humor is what makes Lost in Translation so appealing; it isn't dark or ditzy comedy, but rather humor that rouses the audience and leaves them wanting more of Bob.
Charlotte complements Bob by being the staple in his life at the moment. She is dependable, and whether he is looking for a late night drink or preparing to dash out of a nightclub, Charlotte is up for a good time.
Charlotte seems caught between two identities. At times she is a deep philosophical thinker who takes trips to the countryside and basks in Japan's beauty and culture, but she also seems indifferent to the city at times and remains hidden in her room. At other moments she is ready to party hard. Overall, Johansson provides the audience with a note-worthy performance and deserves recognition for her ability to stand opposite the always impressive Murray.
Director and writer Sofia Coppola adds a genius to the movie accomplished with skillful cinematography, artfully chosen music and expert casting. Lost in Translation is worth getting lost in.
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