A review of “Lost in
Translation” by Jeanne Aufmuth
Rating: R for language,
hour, 45 minutes
gives the performance of a lifetime while navigating the treacherous waters of
cultural dislocation and romantic regret.
American movie star Bob Harris (Murray) is in Tokyo to pick up
a quick $2 million for pitching Suntory whiskey to the natives. Lost in a fog of jet-lag and personal
problems, Bob finds himself struggling with the language, the people, and his
ability to sleep. Residing at the same
swanky digs is Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), the young Yale-educated wife of
up-and-coming celebrity shutterbug John (Giovanni Ribisi), on assignment to
shoot a hot Japanese rock band. Left to
her own devices, Charlotte is coming
face-to-face with the sorry fact that her marriage may be a mistake.
souls, wandering the halls of Tokyo’s Park
Hyatt Hotel with an aura of unspoken yearning.
Initially, Bob and Charlotte’s meetings are brief and unassuming – in
the elevator, the hotel bar, and at the gym swimming pool. A karaoke night here, a sushi restaurant
there, and the pair find themselves with an unexpected bond based on
loneliness, need, and sleep-deprived flirtation.
Coppola is a filmmaker of immense maturity.
Her “Virgin Suicides” was an ode to the delusional state of longing and
the clarity of innocence. Johansson
brings a similar serenity to her young protagonist, refreshing pabulum for Murray’s palpable
pleasures of kinetic rapport are punctuated by genuine laughs at the expense of
cultural differences. Language barriers,
unfamiliar foods and technological sensory overloads are in-your-face reminders
of the frustrations of negotiating foreign territory, yet serve to connect two
characters drawn together by their very American sameness. Subtly realized and
finely nuanced, “Lost” is fresh and unspoiled filmmaking.