Skip to main content

The Vault: Lost in Translation (2003)

There are those airplane conversations with a stranger in which you reveal far more about yourself than you ever could to someone you know. For Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson) it's simply because you're in a space with someone who speaks the same language.

Charlotte's husband (Giovanni Ribisi) is a photographer who in his short time in Tokyo has adapted it as his home and tells Charlotte that she wouldn't have any fun going around with him anyway - more likely is that he is infatuated with the attention he receives from starlet Kelly (Anna Faris). Bob is an actor whose career has relegated him to doing caricatures of Roger Moore for whiskey ads. Murray doesn't go for broke in playing Bob rather being wryly sardonic than play for the guttural laugh. It took a lot of restraint for Murray to play Bob Harris and he was handsomely rewarded with a nomination for Best Actor for it. 

This year's Best Actor race reminds me quite a bit of the 2004 Academy Awards. Sean Penn after being nominated several times, but not winning for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown and I Am Sam is nominated again for Mystic River and his biggest challenge is Bill Murray for Lost in Translation. While both performances are remarkable Murray's character is the one you want to hang with, yet ultimately the Oscar went to Penn for his collective works. Flash forward to this year's race Colin Firth and George Clooney both give great performances, but Jeff Bridges has gone unrewarded so long that it really would be a travesty to not give him the Oscar for Crazy Heart.

Marriage is hard and Bob has known this for quite some time, but Charlotte in her youth is just catching up to that fact. Two kindred spirits unfocused and unsure where their lives are headed take solace in each other's company during Bob's stay. Coppola could have gone for the lusty melodrama but instead allows Bob and Charlotte to just be with one another. Whether Bob tells Charlotte he loves her, to go back to her husband, or whatever, the whisper they share at the end of one of the finest endings ever.


Aiden R. said…
Love this movie, one of the best of the last decade. Been meaning to give it another watch lately so I can give it the review it deserves, might just be that time. Love that closing song by The Jesus and Mary Chain, too. Awesome.
I love this film! Bill Murray and Scarlett Johannson are simply amazing and the ending is so touching. Great write-up!

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…