Lost In Translation

2003

Lost In Translation

Critics Consensus

Effectively balancing humor and subtle pathos, Sofia Coppola crafts a moving, melancholy story that serves as a showcase for both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 229

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 337,081
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Movie Info

After making a striking directorial debut with her screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola offers a story of love and friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances in this comedy drama. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a well-known American actor whose career has gone into a tailspin; needing work, he takes a very large fee to appear in a commercial for Japanese whiskey to be shot in Tokyo. Feeling no small degree of culture shock in Japan, Bob spends most of his non-working hours at his hotel, where he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) at the bar. Twentysomething Charlotte is married to John (Giovanni Ribisi), a successful photographer who is in Tokyo on an assignment, leaving her to while away her time while he works. Beyond their shared bemusement and confusion with the sights and sounds of contemporary Tokyo, Bob and Charlotte share a similar dissatisfaction with their lives; the spark has gone out of Bob's marriage, and he's become disillusioned with his career. Meanwhile, Charlotte is puzzled with how much John has changed in their two years of marriage, while she's been unable to launch a creative career of her own. Bob and Charlotte become fast friends, and as they explore Tokyo, they begin to wonder if their sudden friendship might be growing into something more. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Bill Murray
as Bob Harris
Akiko Takeshita
as Ms. Kawasaki
Catherine Lambert
as Jazz Singer
Kazuko Shibata
as Press Agent
Take
as Press Agent
Ryuichiro Baba
as Concierge
Francois du Bois
as Sausalito Piano
Tim Leffman
as Sausalito Guitar
Gregory Pekar
as American Businessman No. 1
Richard Allen
as American Businessman No. 2
Yutaka Tadokoro
as Commercial Director
Jun Maki
as Suntory Client
Nao Asuka
as Premium Fantasy Woman
Tetsuro Naka
as Stills Photographer
Kanako Nakazato
as Make-up Person
Daikon
as Bambie
Asuka Shimuzu
as Kelly's Translator
Ikuko Takahashi
as Ikebana Instructor
Koichi Tanaka
as New York Bartender
Hugo Codaro
as Aerobics Instructor
Hiromix
as Hiromix
Hiroshi Kawashima
as Nightclub Bartender
Akimitsu Naruyama
as French Japanese Club Patron
Kazuo Yamada
as Hospital Receptionist
Yasuhiko Hattori
as Charlie's Friend
Shigekazu Aida
as Mr. Valentine
Kei Takyo
as TV Translator
Ryo Kondo
as Politician
Yumi Ikeda
as Politician's Aide
Yumika Saki
as Politician's Aide
Diedrich Bollman
as German Hotel Guest
Georg O.P. Eschert
as German Hotel Guest
Yuji Okabe
as Politician's Aide
Mark Willms
as Carl West
Lisle Wilkerson
as Sexy Businesswoman
View All

News & Interviews for Lost In Translation

Critic Reviews for Lost In Translation

All Critics (229) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (217) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Lost In Translation

  • Sep 22, 2013
    Oh, Bill Murray, I understand your pain, as I'd imagine it would be mighty easy to get lost in someone trying to interact with you when Scarlett Johansson's in room. Hm, let's see, he got a big comeback, scored a considerable sum of money, an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win, and got a vacation to Tokyo with one of the more beautiful women on the planet, so I'm kind of lost as to what Murray has lost with this deal. Maybe it was his soul or something, which would explain why he's been looking really, really old ever since this film (Hollywood doesn't age like this, Bill), and why he had to work with Sofia Coppola to be in this film. Hey, Francis Ford Coppola had to practically sell his soul to make "The Godfather Part III" and he ended up stuck with his daughter, and we all suffered because of it. Oh well, it was still an awesome film... to me, at least, and besides, it would appear as though little Sofia finally found her place in showbidnuss, or at least that's what we thought when this film first came out. No, Coppola has had a decent directorial career since 2003 I suppose, but I think she lost something in translation when we gave her an opening to do whatever she wanted to after this film. Oh well, at least we still have this film to keep us going, and yet, quite frankly, even in 2003, I wouldn't have given Coppola the OK to do whatever, because she makes more than a few decisions with this film that are kind of questionable. It's something of a fad to intentionally underdevelop the focuses of a character study when they're ordinary folks, and while an aging actor and the unusually hot wife of a photographer are certainly more interesting than the usual bums films of this type meditate on, some ambiguities is nice, but not to this degree, as immediate development is borderline nonexistent, and gradual exposition is mighty lacking, which is a problem, largely because these are unique characters who are focused on pretty thoroughly to have only so much flesh-out, and partly because this film wastes too much time on dragging. At just barely over 100 minutes, this is a relatively brief affair, but, like I said, expository depth is pretty lacking, so in order to break even, this film spends long, long stretches of time presenting, not excess material, but excess filler, which drags on and on until repetitious ensues, then devolves into an aimlessness that challenges your attention, and whose blandness goes exacerbated by atmospheric limpness. This is one of your livelier Sofia Coppola films I suppose, and yet, the director isn't exactly known for keeping consistent with liveliness, so on top of being underdeveloped and overdrawn, this film further challenges engagement value with a rather cold atmosphere, anchored by dry quietness that typically blands things up and often goes so far as to dull things down. A testament to Coppola's competence as a filmmaker is this film's taking so many heavy blows and ultimately standing as rewarding, regardless of its shortcomings, but make no mistake, there are plenty of shortcomings in development and pacing, and they drag things out and down, challenging your investment, which should be kind of loose to begin with, considering natural shortcomings. This is certainly a meaty little drama, as it takes on plenty of storytelling issues and still stands as quite compelling at the end of the day, but the story that is so problematically told is kind of thin, at least in a sense of consequence, being not too much more than a study on a slice of life, only with a little less development and a little more limpness. The film doesn't go a whole lot of places, and that's a crying shame, because this film could have perhaps gone far, considering that it rewards in spite of storytelling shortcomings' emphasis on natural shortcomings, yet as things stand, natural shortcomings remain prominent, and go stressed enough through characterization and pacing problems for the final product to run the risk of being, if you will, "lost in underwhelmingness". Of course, when it's all said and done, while reward value isn't too firmly secured, it surprisingly still stands, compelling you through and through, and even catching your eyes, maybe even your ears, along the way. As quiet as this film is, its soundtrack has become pretty popular, and really, I can't say that I'm blind as to why, because even though the pretty contemporary, relatively obscure songs that are found here and there throughout this film are hit-or-miss, and never hit too hard by their own musical right, some are decent, or at least fitting, livening up the film a bit, though not as much as an original score by Kevin Shields, whose melodic and rather soulful plays with subtle electronica is not only unique, but breathes yet more life into this very modern, very genuine character drama. This is a film driven by a lot of quietness, yet its musical ironically defines its heart, while proving to be attractive more often than not, as surely as Lance Acord's cinematography proves to be consistently attractive, with soft, yet striking color and occasionally rather dreamlike lighting that is always good-looking, but particularly stunning when it accentuates Scarlett Johansson... oh, and, uh, the lively Tokyo locations that this almost environmental character study relies a lot on. I don't know if the film is necessarily a stylistic marvel, but the aesthetic value of the film is relatively outstanding, perhaps even immersive, drawing you into the heart of a drama that, in order to compensate for shortcomings, is going to need worthwhile substance. Like I said, there's something kind of thin about the meat of this character drama, and there is certainly plenty of thinness in this story's underdeveloped and overdrawn execution, but this is still a very genuine, fairly intriguing story concept, with worthy thematic depth and wit that wouldn't be sold as surely as it ultimately is without Sofia Coppola's efforts, at least as the writer of a script that offers sharp dialogue and humor, as well as quite a bit of juice within what characterization there is, further soaked up by a directorial meditativeness that may get to be too limp for its own good, but generally proves to be effective in drawing the subtle depths of this character study. The strengths in storytelling are perhaps more subtle than the flaws, but those subtle touches go a long way in producing a tasteful, if flawed character study that charms, moves and endears thoroughly, yet still runs the risk of collapse into underwhelmingness, from which it is ultimately pried by the onscreen talents. Sure, material is limited for this colorful cast, but most everyone delivers, though not as much as the leads, who really do about as much as anyone or anything in saving the character drama as compelling, with the charismatic Bill Murray being effective as a beloved talent who begins to question the credibility of his career, while the startlingly beautiful Scarlett Johansson, nearing the end of her 17th year (17... Now I feel awkwa-nah, I can't even lie, she was already hot), remarkably convinces as a soft-spoken, but hearty woman who begins to question the path she has taken thus far in adulthood. Of course, it's the chemistry between Murray and Johansson that really drives this film, because as if the charisma between the leads isn't endearing enough, the convincingness of their relationship sells much of the core of this study on two people just trying to get by, and that convincingness is ultimately enough to nudge this film over into thorough compellingness, challenged by storytelling and natural shortcomings, but ultimately firmly secured by rewarding inspiration. When it's all said, translated and done, underwhelmingness stands as a serious risk, due to serious limitations of expository depth, long stretches of aimless filler, - made all the more glaring by near-dulling atmospheric dryness - and natural limitations in dramatic weight, but through a lively soundtrack, lovely visuals and an endearing story concept, - brought to life by a clever script and thoughtful directorial performance, and truly sold by electric charisma and chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson - "Lost in Translation" stands as a thoroughly charming and generally quite compelling character study. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2013
    Like all of Sofia Coppola's films, Lost in Translation is beautiful, intimate, and mesmerizing. Visually stunning--with a brilliant use of music--and exceptionally written and acted, the film is a reflection on life, freedom, and the lessons we learn from one another and from finding our place in the world. Bravo!
    Matthew Samuel M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2013
    I'm very mixed on this film, I love the lay back style. I mean you could've walked out for fifteen minutes and still got what's going on. Very relaxed and intimate with the viewer. It was also captivatingly beautiful, the city looked outstanding. I swear these are the people that make fast food look good in commercials. Especially the hospital scene, which was very plain, I was staring in awe. I'll be in the minority and say I found both the characters annoying. I was focused more on how things look around them than the story. I usually like Murray and Johansson, but I feel they were giving irritating roles. Both passive aggressive, and too bitter at life. The dialogue was pretty real, but the only thing that really stuck out to me is how everything looked. It's not a phenomenal movie, but it is a reasonable one.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2012
    This is a very lovely film. It's definitely a sad movie in some ways, just the ways these characters sort of grow on you and seeing them stuck in very depressing situations and how they'd do anything to be anywhere but where they are at the moment, and their problems are exacerbated being in a very culturally different place from what they're used to. It's definitely a movie that's driven by some very complex characters and their relationship with each other. The movie also offers some very funny moments, but they're definitely quiet and subtle. It's not in your face like a lot of movies, so kudos to that. The writing is excellent, no surprise there. The movie has a lot of emotional depth but, like its humor, it's subtle and I appreciate that because this movie is so much more powerful because of it. The cast is, of course, excellent. Bill Murray turns in, arguably, his best performance in this movie. There's just something about his presence and the way he carries himself that just adds a lot of power to the film. And his chemistry with Scarlett is excellent. The thing is, their 'romance' is really very simple if you think about it, yet they get so much out of that with how they act with each other. I also appreciate how the movie never really got into too much detail of what exactly happened between Bob and Charlotte and how that added a more ambiguous twist to the ending and what Bob actually whispered at the end of the film. It's a movie that clicks on a lot of cylinders and I loved every single moment of it. So yes, this is an excellent movie with a tremendous performance from Bill Murray. I loved this movie, so I highly recommend this.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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