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
There is a shot of Bob running across a busy street while a minivan passes, full of uniformed women waving and politely shouting over a P.A. system. This is a form of advertising used by political candidates. The candidate himself is running alongside the van. See more »
When Bob lays Charlotte on the bed after carrying her to her room, a few inches of stomach are visible between her sweater and skirt. When the camera cuts back to her, the sweater is pulled down and no skin is visible. See more »
Few movies make you THINK long after they end. That's OK. Movies are supposed to entertain and most do so without requiring even one ounce of thought. It's sad that maybe some of you out there prefer movies- and life- that way. Thankfully this movie is all about thinking and feeling. This is not a chick flick. It's a human experience flick.
This film examines and lays bare the intricacies of love, life and loneliness; the claustrophobia, insomnia and disorientation of traveling to a foreign country. The loneliness that creeps in after life's normality starts to wear thin. The spark of promise that meeting someone new brings. This is what life is about and what this film so flawlessly portrays.
How many of you can relate to and have actually been that guy/girl on business, in the hotel in some foreign city, happily married yet feeling alone and beaten by life's banality? How many of us have been tempted in that very situation, to stray from the confines of moral adherence for the lure of a forbidden, if fleeting, joy? How many have felt that tingle- that spark- when a stranger smiles and you think, "you know, in another life..."? Change the time, place and all of us have been there whether we admit it or not. Maybe single people don't get this movie; maybe it's for those of us who have walked down that aisle and are wiser to the realities of life.
The characters here are true. Their dialog is true. The setting is true. It's all tirelessly fascinating because we can all relate to it and it involves us in a way that most movies do not. We find ourselves drawn to every moment these two experience together and apart. We are intrigued by the glances, nuances and words they share.
Johanssen is brilliant and beautiful as the lonely, young wife questioning her marriage. Her beauty is classic, not necessarily sexual, though she is obviously alluring in this role. Her bee-stung lips, perfect body and haunting eyes may have something to do with that. Still she's more sophisticated beauty than mindless hottie, even at 19. This is a role tailor-made for her. It could never have been Reese Witherspoon or Jessica Alba or - God forbid- Jessica Simpson, or anybody else in that realm.
Murray is simply at his best. He does "exasperated, middle-aged and depressed" better than most, with his receding hairline and frumpy body. You really believe that these two could connect in a physical and emotional way, as remote as that may seem on the surface. What other 50-something could ever be believed to be appealing to a young woman as pretty as Charlotte? That's a tough chemistry to fake and I can't think of a more perfect pair. What drives them to this attraction is what's intriguing to watch.
Go see this. Turn off your "Major Blockbuster-Tom Cruise-Action-Pop Culture Catch Phrase-Big Star" mind and tune in with a more searching self. Watch this with your soul and heart, not your eyes. If you look deeper than the surface you'll find yourself moved by the whole experience. Yes, it's THAT good.
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