Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Bob Harris is an American film actor, far past his prime. He visits Tokyo to appear in commercials, and he meets Charlotte, the young wife of a visiting photographer. Bored and weary, Bob and Charlotte make ideal if improbable traveling companions. Charlotte is looking for "her place in life," and Bob is tolerating a mediocre stateside marriage. Both separately and together, they live the experience of the American in Tokyo. Bob and Charlotte suffer both confusion and hilarity due to the cultural and language differences between themselves and the Japanese. As the relationship between Bob and Charlotte deepens, they come to the realization that their visits to Japan, and one another, must soon end. Or must they? Written by
Filmed in Tokyo, with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, one of the better movies I've seen in a while.
For anyone who wants a synopsis of this movie, the critics Ebert and Berardinelli have excellent, complete reviews of 'Lost in Translation', and they both give it their highest ratings.
My wife and I saw it tonight on DVD, with DTS 5.1 sound and both think it is a remarkable movie. I like Bill Murray in just about everything, and this will go down as one of his strongest performances, as Bob, the actor in Japan for a week doing whisky commercials. Scarlett Johansson plays Charlotte, the young wife virtually abandoned in the city to do her own thing as her photographer husband (Ribisi) goes to various locations for shoots.
What I liked most was the realistic feel. Being in a strange city, with unusual customs and a language you have no hope of understanding. Meeting someone who because of circumstances (age, marital status) will only ever be a friend. Being able to talk freely. Reflecting on where we've been and where we might be going. Many of the negative comments about this movie relate to an impression that it is 'boring.' I'll put on my 'maturity hat' and state that anyone who thinks 'Lost In Translation' is boring simply was not able, at least while they watched it, appreciate the inner beauty of this movie.
The scene that made the whole story come together for me was when they were in one of their hotel rooms (doesn't matter which), overhead shot, they were in bed talking, fully clothed, he is on his back staring at the ceiling, she is on her side, eyes probably closed, the tips of her feet barely touching the side of his leg, and he moves his hand and puts it on her feet. Then the scene fades to black. It is the kind of tender, non-sexual touch that tells us how close they have become, and that theirs is a relationship of mutual trust and admiration, not one of lust.
People like Bob and Charlotte really exist, and they really do meet up in very similar situations. After a week, they must go their separate ways, he to his family and activities of his kids, she to wait for her husband and figure out how to get out of the rut. We sense that he does not love her they way she needs, and we wonder what will happen.
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