a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Lost in Translation (2003), starring Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Giovanni Ribisi.
From IMDb: “A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.”
Bob Harris (Murray) is an aged, somewhat washed up movie star who is in Tokyo to film a commercial for Suntory Whisky. He’s not having a good time with the commercial as the
director speaks no English while yelling at Bob and the set’s translator seemingly is only telling half the story of what the director is yamming about. In fact, he’s not really having a good time, at all. He’s unhappy in his marriage of many years and while he doesn’t like being in Tokyo, it gives him a leave from his wife, who is trying to include him in home decorating from a distance.
Charlotte (Johansson) is married to John (Ribisi) a celebrity photographer on assignment in Tokyo. John is so absorbed in his work that he greatly ignores his wife, who’s left to explore the large city on her own. She’s on her own a lot. She’s also not happy.
Bob and Charlotte meet continuously in the hotel they’re both staying at and the frequency of which increases, from drinks in the bar to the swimming pool.They grow closer to each other. Charlotte invites Bob with her to see friends she has in Tokyo. They have a fun night out experiencing the city, its culture, karaoke and partying. He ends up carrying her back to her hotel room and tucking her in. What happens then? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I don’t know the last time that I saw a film take 101 minutes to tell you absolutely nothing. I don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s nothing on the surface but beneath it all, there’s a story within the story being told. There’s the mess that Bob can’t understand with the director and the translator. There’s how both Bob and Charlotte are lost in Tokyo, which is foreign to them. Both alone, together. And, there’s also being lost in each other, or the fact they can’t be together. And, in 2003, it showed that fax machines were still in vogue. There was a shload of faxes in the film. Email, I suppose, hadn’t really taken off, completely, especially with graphics and whatever.
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay. Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director, only winning the former. It was a good and interesting watch. Do I think it belonged on the AFI‘s 400 nominees for 100 Years… 100 Movies? Not really. As, I said, it was good, but wasn’t “great,” at least to me. The acting, though, was really great. Murray plays another character named Bob and plays it wonderfully. Johansson looked fresh, young and pretty. Her acting was fantastic, too. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 95% Fresh with an audience score of 86%. IMDb has it at 7.8 stars out of 10. It’s not on Netflix or Hulu but you can rent it from Amazon Prime. I own a copy on DVD and that’s how I watched it. I rate it 3.5 stars out of 5. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to see or hear me review?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun.” – Charlotte