View Full Version : Film: Lost in Translation

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15-01-2004, 13:01
wow. those of you not familiar with sofia coppola (daughter of francis ford coppola; cousin of nicolas cage) should go and see the virgin suicides, probably. but you should *definitely* see this.

though tvs had praise heaped upon it, i always thought it was a little overrated - critics seem to start frothing at the mouth whenever they see potential, leading to a lot of directors being overhyped for their first films. but coppola did show her talent in that film - it was beautifully shot, and the scripting was natural, believable, and reasonably enjoyable. the film just seemed to lack a little spark, imo - being slow isn't a fault, but it can be if the characters aren't quite interesting enough to hold your direct attention through the slower portions of the narrative.

in lost in translation though, her latest film starring bill murray (who, luckily, after a terrible phase through the late '80s, then again after the awesome groundhog day until wes anderson came across him, has had some amazing films recently) as almost washed-up hollywood star actor, bob harris. honestly, murray used to be one of the most underrated actors in hollywood (and he still is, a little, but at least seems to be getting some credibility now - he deserves an oscar for this role, too), but the more he takes roles like this, the more it will dissapear.

strangely enough, this was actually written with murray in mind, and though that's usually the death knell of most scripts, coppola's deft hand at creating believable, flawed and real characters is highlighted by the fact that murray fits her character like a glove. murray has long had the ability to play characters with many intricacies, but it is rare that he was able to find such roles - this though, is absolutely perfect for him. and though the role of charlotte, the tag-along wife of disinterested in everything but work rock-star photographer john (giovanni ribisi, as reliable and appealingly-odd as ever), wasn't written for her as was murray's, scarlett johanssen's co-starring appearance as the early-twenty-something charlotte is stunning.

she was good in ghost world, and the man who wasn't there, and taking note that she's still only nineteen years old (eighteen when this was filmed, oh my god!), she was just amazing in this film. johanssen brings a subtle sexuality (see only the scenes with the supremely ott hollywood starlet-friend of her husband's to prove this point) to the role, which is matched only be coppola's direction.

and i really think this is an amazing film - the scene in which we watch an entire conversation between charlotte and bob (murray) in the reflection, whilst simultaneously gazing out (and occasionally getting lost in) the night-time tokyo skyline is one of the most beautiful ever committed to film.

and coppola isn't afraid to liven things up - though the film has a feeling of yearning, self-doubt and dissapointment throughout it, it can also be uplifting, and the bouts of slapstick humour (i'm sure you've seen the trailer, but there's a few other scenes too) scattered throughout are welcome additions.

i guess i haven't gone over the film's plot too much - but i'm really only looking for discussion from people who've seen the film, what i wrote really wasn't supposed to sound so much like a review as it did! :) anyway, this is already challenging lotr: rotk as the best film i've seen all year (and that's a *big* task), so i thoroughly recommend it. thoughts, everyone?

15-01-2004, 16:29
I saw this film last night, i enjoyed it despite the bad reviews i'd heard. I think you really have to pay attention to what the characters are saying and doing to understand it, instead of trying to work out a plot. A lot of people who were there last night said it was boring maybe for this reason? It really isnt plot driven, so keep that in mind.

Both characters aren't sure whats going on in there lives, they are 'lost' to state the obvious and are in many ways opposites, his career and marriage is ending, while hers are just beging. I don't really want to say too much more incase i spoil it for people.

I liked the way there was no subtitles for the english, putting you in Bob and Charlotte's situation. The japanese appear to be at the butt of all the jokes which i wasn't to keen on, but they may well be like that.

I'd definately recomend this film if you havent already seen it.

16-01-2004, 02:32
i don't really think the japanese were the butt of the jokes (though i've read a lot of comments saying they were). rather, i think that coppola just wanted to emphasise the humour that can be found in the clash of cultures, particularly one as weird as japan's (and yeah, they're really that weird, possibly more so).

16-01-2004, 07:20
i thought this was a beautiful movie.

*** minor spoiler ***

i liked the fact that, at the end when they said their farewell, we didn't get to hear what bill murrary whispered in her ear.


16-01-2004, 10:30
Hey, I loved that too. I saw it a few days ago and I'm still thinking up all the possible conclusions. This was a powerful movie experience for myself - although it probably wasn't until after the film as I thought about it more the subtleties of their relationship made any meaning to me. Having said this, the soundtrack totally moved me then and there and I sense totally complimented the heart-wrenching performances. One of the finest films for me in a while.

16-01-2004, 17:13
what alasdair said - yep, it was a great moment.

something, which my i discussed with a friend, though, which sums up this film for me: the fact that the one moment, when they're lying on the bed together and bob touches charlotte's foot, is probably the most romantic and amazingly touching scene that i've seen in the last couple of years worth of films. it's just so *wow* you know - that all this emotion, all this feeling, is summed up in one tiny movement - unlike the usual hollywood bullshit, we don't need tears and drama and declarations of love...just some realistic, heartfelt dialogue, and a slight move of a hand.

even though i *already* want to make films, if i didn't, this would be the film to inspire me to do so. it grows on me more and more the more i think about it. sofia coppola = god.

oh, and sorry about all the commas, (probable) spelling mistakes, and superlatives - i'm a little drunk =D (but it's still an amazing movie!)

16-01-2004, 20:38
Originally posted by onetwothreefour
...when they're lying on the bed together and bob touches charlotte's foot, is probably the most romantic and amazingly touching scene that i've seen in the last couple of years worth of films.

i totally agree. it was a great example of how less is (much much) more.


16-01-2004, 23:00
this movie was excellent but not as good as 21 grams

17-01-2004, 01:45
^^^ i'm yet to see that, but i hope to catch it sometime next week. it really looks like a pretty exciting year in cinema is upon us, especially if 21 grams is as good as everyone is saying.

19-01-2004, 12:54
Was just informed of this:


In summary John Hurt really didn't like the film. He hated it so much in fact that he said he'd quit the academy if it won any oscars!

19-01-2004, 13:20
^^^ what a stupid, pompous cunt. though i guess i haven't really heard his reasoning as yet, so perhaps i should leave my judgements...

...nah ;)

03-02-2004, 02:12
Went to see the film this evening on my own. I was completely impressed. It was very thoughtful, touching, uplifting and beautifully shot. The little things that have been picked up in the thread already such as the hand on the foot and not hearing what was said at the end are exactly the moments that stood out for me too. The soundtrack was completely mesmersing aswell. Very good film.......and yes Scarlett Johansson is beautful, I can't believe she's only 19, I just found that out when I read it in this thread.

04-02-2004, 23:03
I love this movie. I thought it was more of a friendship Bill murray had to
Charlotte Johanssen than a sexual thing. I honestly didnt want it to be sexual, their friendship was much more special. There was a huge connection they had because of the fact that they were in a strange land with little contact with other people because of the language barrier.

The scene where Charlotte was confessing that her relationship to her husband isnt what it used to be was one of the best emotional movie scene in 2003. She should of been up for an oscar but now a days its all politics. Her performence is vastly superior to any other actress up for best supporting actress.

Anyone know what Murray said in her ears at the end? I think it was a thank you or "you be fine."

I suck at movie reviews, wish I was more articulate because there so much more to this movie that I want to dissus. It was much deeper than critics think.

05-02-2004, 01:36
^^^ *scarlett :)

and, so far, i'm not sure as to what he whispered to her - though many people have said that it doesn't matter to the film (and, well, technically it doesn't - the film loses nothing if we don't know), i'm curious too. i'd like to know if it was scripted (then it's easy to find out), otherwise i guess the only way we'll ever know is if someone gets the answer out of johannsen or murray themselves.

personally (and with a little bit of consideration and hindsight) i think this is the best film i've seen in a good year or so, and should win best director; best actor; best actress. of course, it won't, but hopefully at least one or two of them...

05-02-2004, 14:51
Then John Hurt can eat his words. :)

05-02-2004, 15:35
^^^ indeed. it will be interesting if he actually sticks to them, or instead decides to make up the usual 'i was taken out of context' bullshit.

07-02-2004, 22:41
I just finished watching this on DVD and loved it. It seemed like Murray was absolutely perfect for the role and, after reading the above posts, he was! ;) It was amazing how much emotion he conveyed simply through body language and facial expressions. I absolutely loved the scene at the beginning where Murray was filming the whisky commercial. The Japanese director would talk for like a minute and the translator would then give him a two word direction. Hilarious!

08-02-2004, 03:38
I love this movie - already seen it like 5 times.

And I am most impressed that she was able to make a non-lame karaoke scene. I found it to be an excellent device to glean more information about the characters.

08-02-2004, 09:45
I still cant get Scarlett Johanssen's character out of my mind. Can you imagine meeting someone like that and having such a wonderful time. She just great, and its good to see some natural beauty. I'm so sick of all these models that look exactly the same.

Anyone see the outtakes? There one where Murray in the dinner place and he just talking to the camera crew. He praticing his japanese and say " do you know who you're talking to" in japanese. He then proceed to say that to some of the crew memember. Funny stuff.....yahoo had it on their movie page. Try to take a look there.

11-02-2004, 01:37
It seemed like Murray was absolutely perfect for the role and, after reading the above posts, he was!

Apparently the character was wrote with Bill Murray in mind.

15-02-2004, 09:00
I am as up for a good "deep film"as the next guy, but this one I felt failed to deliver up to the hype. Sorry, my opinion, but you know what they say about opinions.

15-02-2004, 10:24
^what didnt you like about this movie?

15-02-2004, 11:32
This movie suffers from overhype from people who have seen it towards people who haven't seen it until recently, much like Donnie Darko.

I thought LIT was really a great movie that Bill Murray carried ridiculously. I can't think of many other actors (or even a few) (or even one) who could have done this sort of role as well as Bill.

It just did a freaking great job of developing themes of alienation and isolation while at the same time developing a platonic relationship that was very delicate and touching.

punch e punch
16-02-2004, 15:51
Yeah, I really thought that I would like this movie. But somehow it really disappointed me.

It reminds me of that scene in the movie 'Adaptation' where Cage's character goes to the screenwriter's seminar and tells the lecturer that he wants to make a film about nothing, where nothing happens and there is no real meaning in the end, just like life.
Then the lecturer goes right off at him- "Every day people struggle, someone is born, someone dies!... If you can't find any meaning in life then WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING WASTING TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE WATCHING YOUR MOVIE!!"

Anyway, when the closing credits rolled in Lost in Translation, I was almost as angry as that guy.

If a film is offering ideas and impressions, I like to look pretty deeply into it and discuss it with friends.
I can't find anything in this movie worth thinking or talking about.

16-02-2004, 16:29
^^^ but, imo, kaufman was poking fun of the lecturer (films about "nothing" are often kinda fantastic), thus your point is either misguided or just ironic :)

this is one of those films that, i guess, can be seen as pointless and meandering to the point of boredom, but i think a lot can be gained out of a look at humanity through the character study.

i can see your point though, so we'll have to just disagree :)

16-02-2004, 21:13
I watched about an hour, hour and a half of Lost in Translation before I turned it off, I haven't seen anything in this thread to make me want to watch the last part of the movie.

I'm not seeing what the great things are about this movie, it just seemed like a wannabe artsy film about 2 american's in Japan.

There was even a reach with some camera angles and shots at times that didn't fit the film at all. I'll try to find a minute count on those so you can check them out for yourself.

If you liked this movie or got something out of it, great, but it was a huge waste of my time.

How is this movie called a Comedy?

punch e punch
18-02-2004, 14:15
Originally posted by onetwothreefour
^^^ but, imo, kaufman was poking fun of the lecturer (films about "nothing" are often kinda fantastic), thus your point is either misguided or just ironic :)

Yeh, I laughed at the lecturer when I watched 'Adaptation'. But now that I've seen 'Lost In Translation', I think I see his point. :D

Do you really think some of the best films are about nothing? What's an example?

21-02-2004, 03:18
I intentionally never read reviews or pieces on Films before i go to see them. I hate having any pre-conceptions on what OTHER people think of movies, i like to make my own mind up.

I thought this was very beautifully shot, i loved it when she was walking through the garden/place where the temples were, a really nice scene- musically, cinematographically...

To punchepunches comments: You think there was no meaning to the end of that movie? TO ME:

I felt this movie ran with the "Everyone truly is alone" theme the whole way through...with a simple gesture at the end of the film when Bill runs up and gives charlotte a heartfelt hug and tells her something, when he touches her foot, and just their attraction to each other for the attention they both want from another human being, clearly shows yes, we are all alone, but people will still care about you anyway- even if they are too wrapped up in their own self/life.

Maybe i just relate to the topic... But even if i didnt i think i would of loved this film anyway.

I thought Scarlett Johanson was perfect for her role, so naturally beautiful, shes a great actress. And Bill Murray, yes, he certainly fit his role.

....excellent film .... %)

Jamie Oliver
21-02-2004, 12:21
I liked this film - Coppola directed it beautifully. I thought it was set up well from the first scene when Murray is arriving in Japan. The cinematography and music is entrancing and I thought that this whimsical, almost nonchalent, style of direction was carried well throughout the film.

I thought the script let itself down a little, there were some parts I thought lasted too long and I thought the joke with the shortened japanese translations got old quick. Murray and Johanssen were both brilliant though, especially considering that Murray hasn't done much to impress recently and Johanssen was only 18 at the time. The pent up emotion between the two was palpable and established amazingly well by Coppola. The value of the relationship sort of 'snuck in the back door' in my opinion, one minute they were just two strangers who had something in common in a foreign country and the next I realised they meant the world to each other.

I found it to be a really different style of film from anything I've ever seen before... it managed to be quaint but also meaningful. I thought the end was abrupt, but retrospectively timely and I agree with comments made in here about it ultimately being a tale of loneliness.

Well worth a look IMO. Watch it with an open mind and don't expect anything from it... let it sneak up on you.

s p a c e d
22-02-2004, 08:44
Yeah, I'll throw in another positive vote for this, one of the best of the year for me. I don't understand anyone who thought this was boring, I wasn't bored for a second. Beautifully shot, too.

Also, for anyone who liked the soundtrack, it was done by Kevin Shields, the former frontman of My Bloody Valentine. If you haven't heard their album Loveless, you need to, especially if you liked the music in the movie.

02-03-2004, 08:42
I thought this movie was fabulous. Scarlett Johanssen is so good. I liked how she was always in her underwear. In fact, I think there should have been more of a focus on that aspect of the film.

What really made this film I felt was the writing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a story that is compelling and touching yet where virtually nothing happens plot-wise? The dialogue was top notch and the character interaction had an air of authenticity which is starkly absent in most movies these days.

I particularly like how the movie itself goes away from tried and true movie cinematic formula. Most movies I find are just too formulaic, too predictable; studios are afraid to get behind efforts that stray from comfortable market-tested ideas, and to see a film such as this is extremely refreshing.

02-03-2004, 08:47
Great, Coppola got the nod from the academy for writing -
so when is John Hurt going to quit? ;)

02-03-2004, 11:29
After hearing a lot of disappointing reviews of the movie I finally got too see it.
I was very impressed. The soundtrack was absolutely mesmerizing, just waaaay to perfect. I knew the instant in the beginning where Death In Vegas's "Girls" is playing as the car is driving through Japan that I was going to love the movie. Some would say it was slow, and I would probably agree, but i don't think that in any way detracts from the movie. The movie was all about atmosphere and feeling, and it was by far the most atmospheric movie I have seen in a long time...

P.S. I recommend you all buy/download the soundtrack. Its amazing! Although there are 1 or 2 throw away tracks (expected of a soundtrack) it works SO well... Its especially nice to see Kevin Shields back in the studio to record 4 new tracks for the album, in addition the My Bloody Valentine's "Sometimes." (Its been WAY too long for us MBV fans...) Death in Vegas, squarepusher, Jesus and Marry Chain, and Air all add compelling songs that fit perfectly with the sort of "shoegaze" aesthetic.

Yeah, as you can see, the music is what made the movie for me :)

02-03-2004, 11:42
^ if you let the CD run on after the last track, there's a nice hidden track :)


02-03-2004, 16:17
That Air track is my highlight - and it appeared on the soundtrack first, before their latest release. Surprised of the squarepusher track too. Coppolla obviously has impressive links to musicians - esp with air doing an entire soundtrack for virgin suicides.

...and I love that hidden track :)

02-03-2004, 16:40
Originally posted by punch e punch
Yeh, I laughed at the lecturer when I watched 'Adaptation'. But now that I've seen 'Lost In Translation', I think I see his point. :D

Do you really think some of the best films are about nothing? What's an example?

i've been procrastinating a little over this for the last couple of weeks. but luckily, i've got the easy way out, because part of my point has been illustrated by someone else (see below) :)

when i called lit, i used the term loosely. i probably didn't expand enough, so i will now.

Originally posted by Benefit
What really made this film I felt was the writing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a story that is compelling and touching yet where virtually nothing happens plot-wise? The dialogue was top notch and the character interaction had an air of authenticity which is starkly absent in most movies these days.

this, as most (though not all) character studies are, is what a film about nothing is. i talk about it in that "nothing" (in the big, dramatic, hollywood sense) happens. obviously the characters grow and progress - the entire point of the film - but there are no massive dramatic events to keep us interested, nor any particularly interesting conflicts; basically, nothing in the typical melodramatical sense of film occurs.

now...some of the best films which i think fall under this - those which immediately spring to mind are things like kurosawa's yume, the recent waking life and godard's le mepris (though there is a death at the end, it is entirely devoid of any real dramatic affectation on the audience, especially in the way it is shot, or rather, not shot :)) - films in which ideas, emotions and people are explored, rather than just the typical stories of conflict within a dramatic context.

02-03-2004, 16:43
and i'd just like to mention that not only was i thrilled to see coppola win an oscar (thoroughly deserved), but just as thrilled to hear her mention godard - the guy has become somewhat of an inspiration for me of late :)

03-03-2004, 23:17
^^^ God i love waking life....i get pumped up whenever its mentioned

17-03-2004, 03:26
from: http://www.imdb.com/NewsFeatures/lostintrans.html
There was something specific, there was dialogue, but I liked it better that it was just between the two of them

and so says sofia coppola.

anyway, i just thought this was an interesting little tid-bit of information. except now i really really really wanna find out what was said. of course, as i've mentioned, it's not actually important to the film (in fact, it's best that we don't know imo), but i'm too damn curious and petulant to leave it at that :)

if anyone ever finds out, they must post!

punch e punch
17-03-2004, 05:54
1234- would you say that the "films about nothing" that you mentioned are interesting and clever, not because not much happens in the way of drama, but because those films had a unique style or structure which was hard to compare to anything that came before it?

Well now that I've had a few weeks to think about it, I've worked out why I didn't get into this film.
It's because I didn't feel sympathy for the characters. I guess I was expecting them to say or do something interesting that would endear them to me or at least make them a bit more intriguing.
But as far as I could see, they never really became much more than caricatures.
And maybe I was expecting more kookiness from Bill Murray, considering that the part was written for him.
And maybe it was just the insensitive male in me that couldn't appreciate the subtleties of the relationship between Murray and Johannson characters.
Some of the thoughts that ppl have posted in this thread almost make me wanna see it again.
But I do remember being very bored the first time I watched it.

17-03-2004, 06:21
good movie. not great, but good. very dry humor.

and was it just me or was she wearing the SAME underwear in all them scenes???

17-03-2004, 06:22
also, she was great in ghost world. love that movie!

17-03-2004, 07:22
Originally posted by punch e punch
1234- would you say that the "films about nothing" that you mentioned are interesting and clever, not because not much happens in the way of drama, but because those films had a unique style or structure which was hard to compare to anything that came before it?

yeah, it's a slippery concept to discuss, hence my having a bit of trouble with it :)

but yeah, i think what you're saying is (often - though not always) a big part of it. the excitement, if you will, of the film comes from its innovative narrative or stylistic elements rather than any conventional drama, and thus such a film can be particularly interesting - it often leaves a lot of room for interpretation and discussion.

plus anything which is almost entirely based on character can always be interpreted as dull, anyway. i guess it just depends on a) how real you think the characters are, b) how much you like (or at least are intrigued by) the characters, and c) whether you actually like watching people effectively just sit around and crap on :)

17-03-2004, 08:45
indeed - some wise bastard once said that, in music, you get payed for the notes you don't play.

well, i think that in the case of this film, there are a lot of things which didn't happen which make the film great.


19-03-2004, 04:32
there were so many great reviews about his movie that really made me want to watch it, it was a good movie, but it could have been alot better......considering all the hype.

19-03-2004, 12:20
just on that, i dont understand, how could it have been a lot better? i thought this fleeting journey around Tokyo could not have been a) shot better b) wrtten better (well, yeah, she got an oscar didn't she?) and c) cast better.

as alasdair says, it could have done a lot more, but it didn't. this sense of restraint kept me absolutely captivated.

19-03-2004, 16:40
^^^ not that oscars mean shit :)

i totally agree with your sentiment (obviously), but the logic is not quite so good ;)

22-03-2004, 02:03
it was ok, bit schmaltzy, but i guess thats what the academy likes , richard linklater made much better film 9 years ago, called before sunrise (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112471/)

22-03-2004, 02:05
i would advise everyone to check out "before sunrise", tarantino states its the best love story ever filmed, and i for one concur with him.( of course my opinion holds more weight around these boards)=D

22-03-2004, 07:49
Lost in Translation was great. Bill Murray was fabulous. But he's always like that. Well written script. One of the freshest scripts written in a while.
I guess to all those people who didn't like it, not everyone likes a great red wine. But to all those that do, this one is very satisfying.