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Lost In Translation

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Lost In Translation

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray
Director: Sofia Coppola
Rated: R
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: October 2003
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Anna Faris, Giovanni Ribisi

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Set in Tokyo, Japan, this drama explores the dilemma of loneliness in a big city. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a once-famous actor whose career has declined. He's getting $2 million for endorsing a whiskey in a Japanese commercial. Stuck in a long-term marriage that's gone stale, he's left his wife at home in LA, along with a couple of young kids. Problem is: he's bored and he can't sleep. In the hotel bar, he spies twentysomething Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), another insomniac. She's just graduated from Yale and has accompanied her insensitive photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi) on an assignment. Since their circadian rhythms won't adjust to Tokyo time, they're both aimless night prowlers, strangers discovering exotic city that seemingly never sleeps, as casual camaraderie evolves into quirky understanding and a meaningful relationship.

Daughter of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola developed the concept from a sketchy four-page outline into a 65-page script, which left lots of room for improvisation. And that's what's brilliant here. Patiently, she trusts her actors and cinematographer Lance Accord.

Bill Murray delves deeply into his defensively conflicted character with a wry, underlying humor that is uncharacteristically subtle and superbly effective, while Scarlett Johansson ("The Horse Whisperer") exudes a textured strength and guileless vulnerability. While she's determined to "see the sights," like a Buddhist monastery, glittering neon arcades and Kyoto's gardens, they can't fill the hollowness inside of her. Both are sad, lost souls, suffering culture-shock and a gnawing sense of displacement. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Lost in Translation" is an impressive, amazing 8 - from its stunning opening shot of a female derriere to its final credits.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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