Lost in Translation and Lost in Yourself, Film Review by Victoria Jocsing

The comedy-drama “Lost in Translation” was written, directed, and produced by Sofia Coppola and was released in the year of 2003. With a budget of four million, the movie made almost $120 million. The movie stars Bill Murray as Bob Harris and Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte. Though the story line focus more on the life of Bob Harris, it also goes into depth of Charlotte as well, and how the two come to meet. The setting of the story is in Tokyo, Japan.

Bob Harris is slowly dwindling out as an actor as he begins to reach middle age. He travels to Tokyo, Japan to become the new face of Suntory whiskey and shoot a short commercial for the product.  As the movie goes on he frequently receives calls from his wife and family back home. Through the conversations it is revealed that his marriage is slowly dwindling out as well. He believes that he is having a mid-life crisis. Charlotte on the other hand, is a recent college graduate who followed her famous photographer husband to Tokyo. Most of the time she is left alone in the hotel room with nothing to do, while her husband goes to work. Charlotte also  become slightly on the edge suspicion when she sees her husband run into one of his famous, beautiful friends, Kelly, from back home. The two casually meet in the hotel bar/lounge and strike up a conversation; this becomes a regular thing the next few nights, until Charlotte invites Bob to a night on the town with some locals. Bob arrives at Charlotte hotel room dressed awkwardly, young for his age as he tries to impress Charlotte as being hip. The two go out with friends where they see the cultural differences between American and Japanese. The night consists of going to nightclubs, bars, and even some karaoke singing.  As the movie goes on the two begin to develop sense of caring towards one another, and with this new-found freedom they open up.  Bob opens up about his marriage, as does Charlotte about hers. Things take a turn in Bob and Charlotte’s relationship, when Bob sleeps with the lounge singer one and Charlotte finds them together in his room. He doesn’t realize that she knows what happened until they have a brief argument at lunch. The dispute between them does not last long; they make up later that evening during a fire drill.

The photography of the film looks almost as if it is documentary, which gives it a very soft and realistic look and feel to it. The light all looks very natural throughout the scenes, again giving the film a more realistic feeling. This not only helps give the film more character. When Charlotte walks alone in the city of Tokyo it looks very realistic as if she was not actress playing a character but an actual person walking the streets. This gives the city more realistic quality, as opposed to a very glamorous, lit up city that everyone knows.

The soundtrack of the movie is also very low-key, and subtle with a soft indie-electro rock vibe. The music switches back and forth between Japanese artists and American. The music blends throughout the movie, much like the Bob and Charlotte blend into the Japanese culture. Most of the songs are very current to the date of the movie, except the song “Just like Honey” that plays at the end of the last scene in the movie. When listening to the lyrics, they semi correlate the situation at the end of the film.

When I realized that Sofia Coppola was the writer and director of this movie, I was sold. I watched it not even knowing what the movie was about. I am a fan of Sofia Coppola’s work, so I overall enjoyed the movie very much. I love that she has a different approach to her films that most other films that are made today do not have. The one thing that I loved most about the movie is how realistic it is. The storyline, feelings and interactions between the characters seem so raw, and like it would actual happen. Both characters continuously search for the meaning of what is going to happen in their life next, and are confused and lost by what is happening now.  The documentary like filming style also gave it a very down to earth realistic feeling as well. One thing to expect about this movie is that it is not very action packed and the storyline gradually goes on. Like I mentioned before it is a more realistic film, so if you love super cheesy romantic dramas or comedies, this isn’t what you are looking for. The storyline has a deeper meaning, and makes you think and ask yourself questions similar to what the characters in the movie ask themselves.


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A blog for sharing student media at Chattanooga State Community College. View all posts by csm3dia

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