As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
Middle-aged American movie star Bob Harris is in Tokyo to film a personal endorsement Suntory whiskey ad solely for the Japanese market. He is past his movie star prime, but his name and image still have enough cachet for him to have gotten this lucrative $2 million job. He has an unsatisfying home life where his wife Lydia follows him wherever he goes - in the form of messages and faxes - for him to deal with the minutiae of their everyday lives, while she stays at home to look after their kids. Staying at the same upscale hotel is fellow American, twenty-something recent Yale Philosophy graduate Charlotte, her husband John, an entertainment still photographer, who is on assignment in Japan. As such, she is largely left to her own devices in the city, especially when his job takes him out of Tokyo. Both Bob and Charlotte are feeling lost by their current situations, which are not helped by the cultural barriers they feel in Tokyo, those cultural barriers extending far beyond just not... Written by
A great film, but the rating was lost in translation
It's very interesting to see all of the ratings that Lost In Translation received in different countries. In Canada it is only PG, while in America it's rated R! And really, the only explanation for this is a brief scene at a strip joint that shows some nudity. I really look down on that R rating because Lost In Translation is a good-hearted film that should be enjoyed by all ages. Notice how during the 2003 Oscar season two films played the "only one special effect: the effect on the audience" card; one being this film and the other being Mystic River. Both are great films, both are rated R in the U.S., but only one of them can carry along its story without brutal murders.
So what can I say about Lost In Translation that hasn't been said a million times already? It's all true. It's subtle, down-to-earth, and allows the audience to observe and relate to the characters, Bob and Charlotte. Both of them have a life crisis to deal with, and I guess if you're thousands and thousands of miles away from your problems it makes it easier to take an objective look at them, even if they do follow you. Bob and Charlotte confide in each other and develop a relationship. That's what it's all about, and every scene is precious. It's a real and true to life kind of film. We never hear the lines: "Oh, Charlotte, I'm so glad I went to Japan. You've changed my life in such a profound way and you'll always be in my heart." That's because that just isn't the way it goes in real life. The feeling is there, the characters know it, the audience knows it, so it has to be left at that.
So, yeah, I love this movie. It's clearly the highlight of Bill Murray's career and marks the perfect first real stand-out in Scarlett Johanson's. It's so rare to see a movie that only has an interest in its characters (and only two of them, at that!) and makes them so charming, lovable, and familiar. This is a great example of non-Hollywood Hollywood films: the well-known actors and producers going to the roots of independent film-making. In an age where half the movies out there are packed with CGI, this is refreshing to see.
My rating: 10/10
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