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LOST IN TRANSLATION

Two unhappily married people—a middle-aged movie star shooting a liquor commercial in Japan and a photographer’s tag-along spouse—make a crucial connection in a Tokyo hotel.

CAST: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola


"The beauty of ‘Lost in Translation’ is in its exquisitely captured details. Coppola is a warm, meticulous observer, with an intimate style that’s the polar opposite of her famous father, Francis Ford. He’s grand opera. This is chamber music. Fans of great Bill Murray moments, meanwhile, will count the filming of the whisky commercial among his classic comic scenes. His mortifying appearance on a Japanese talk show with ‘Japan’s Johnny Carson’ runs a close second. But the laughs Murray gets always serve the character. This role—which Coppola wrote with him in mind—shows us aspects of the actor we haven’t seen before, even in ‘Rushmore’: moments when he emerges from his shell of irony emotionally naked. He’s never been better, and part of the credit goes to Johansson. They’re oddly but perfectly matched. Her directness opens him up, pierces his solitude, softens him. Their connection is what this small, unforgettable movie is about: a transient, magical, restorative meeting of souls." --David Ansen, Newsweek

"… one of the purest and simplest examples ever of a director falling in love with her star's gifts. And never has a director found a figure more deserving of her admiration than Bill Murray…It's the first grown-up starring part that Mr. Murray has had, and he inflects every facet of public awareness of Bill Murray with a sure, beveled determination. That may be because he has never really had a leading role that has asked him simply to pay attention to the other actors instead of guide the scene or save it…Mr. Murray could collect the Academy Award that he didn't get for ‘Rushmore.’" --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

"‘Lost in Translation’ opens with a wistful consideration of Scarlett Johansson's derriere, but this odalisque notwithstanding, it's Bill Murray's movie…I can't imagine another actor bringing the same wry wounded dignity to his role. In her impressive second feature, Sofia Coppola—who wrote as well as directed—gives Murray room to stretch and is rewarded with some remarkably melancholy clowning…The movie is lyrical, touching, and gently discombobulated. Coppola has a good eye, a confident knowledge of celebrity folkways, and a definite feel for nightlife." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"Sofia Coppola, directing her second movie at thirty-two (‘The Virgin Suicides’ was the first), is an observer, not a dramatist—at least, not yet…Coppola doesn’t punch up her scenes; she’s not interested in tension leading to a climax but in moods and states of being. She’s willing to let an awkward silence sit on the screen. Not much happens, but Coppola is so gentle and witty an observer that the movie casts a spell… although Coppola’s taste and her determination to keep the anecdote small and ambiguous in feeling are admirable, the movie could use something grander, fiercer—danger, perhaps. It takes a great deal of courage for a young director to make a movie without action; it takes even greater courage to allow something momentous to happen…She’s two-thirds of a great director, which, of course, is a lot closer to greatness than many of the directors working in Hollywood ever get." --David Denby, The New Yorker

"Sofia Coppola's sublimely romantic and subtle ‘Lost in Translation’ finally marks the end of a season of brain-dead blockbusters. It's impossible to conceive of this ruefully funny entertainment without Bill Murray, who is nothing less than brilliant in a form-fitted role as Bob Harris, a middle-aged American movie star who's in Tokyo to shoot a whisky commercial…Don't be surprised if this haunting tale finally brings the severely underrated Murray the Oscar nomination he deserved for ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘Rushmore.’" --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"I hope it will not be taken as a backhanded compliment if I say that Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost in Translation’ is the best movie about jet lag ever made…Coppola both wrote and directed, and there’s a pleasing shapelessness to her scenes. She accomplishes the difficult feat of showing people being bored out of their skulls in such a way that we are never bored watching them…Bill Murray has become an actor of extraordinary range over the years. It would have been easy for him to play Bob as a gaga jerk, but he never once succumbs to revue-sketch antics." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"Coppola has created an extraordinarily sophisticated story, almost a romantic thriller… As good as Coppola is, there is no imagining ‘Lost in Translation’ without its lead actor. Or Johansson either, for that matter. They work off each other so well and with such precocious maturity (yes, even Murray seems precociously mature) that you're left reeling by the realization of how honest a film can be, and that it ever got made at all." --John Anderson, Newsday

 

 

"Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson give performances that will be talked about for years. And Coppola shows the ardent assurance of a born filmmaker. One problem: The fragile plot defies blunt description. How to pin down a moonbeam that tickles you with laughs, teases you with romantic possibility and then melts into heartbreak? Just go with the flow." --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

"‘Lost in Translation’ is a smartly written, confidently directed film that delivers big laughs while developing two of the year's most earnest characters and some of its most rewarding sentiments…It's only when Coppola goes for the easy laughs that her film dips. Specifically, there are a few too many jokes at the expense of the Japanese, who are uniformly short, manic and pidgin-tongued when trying to speak English. But the personal best of Murray and the career-making work of Coppola and Johansson make ‘Lost in Translation’ an affair to remember." -- Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"I loved this movie. I loved the way Coppola and her actors negotiated the hazards of romance and comedy, taking what little they needed and depending for the rest on the truth of the characters. I loved the way Bob and Charlotte didn't solve their problems, but felt a little better anyway. I loved the moment near the end when Bob runs after Charlotte and says something in her ear, and we're not allowed to hear it. We shouldn't be allowed to hear it. It's between them, and by this point in the movie, they've become real enough to deserve their privacy." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Coppola's pocket portraits of entertainment figures -- agents, publicists, photographers and particularly a grotesque young American actress -- are dead-on and hilarious. She's got the satirist's gift for killing swiftly without a lot of blood and screaming…the movie is, in the end, wonderfully nice. It gets at something exquisitely human, so human that even movie stars feel it." --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"Part of ‘Lost in Translation’s’ alluring mystique is Coppola’s own fascination with the culture she photographs. This transfixion is appropriately naïve at first, perhaps because Coppola doesn’t pretend to know Japan any better than her characters do. All the while, Coppola lovingly evokes the film’s many spiritual awakenings via a mod palette that increasingly color-codes her characters to their surroundings as the film moves slowly toward its sad but enlightening final moments." --Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine