Newest Reviews
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Newest Articles
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
  Lost in Translation Strangers In a Strange Land
Year: 2003
Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris, Fumihiro Hayashi, Akiko Takeshita, Tetsuro Naka, Yutaka Tadokoro, Catherine Lambert, Nao Asaka
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 6 votes)
Review: Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a popular American movie star who has arrived in Tokyo to film a Japanese whisky television commercial for a lot of money but no fulfilment. He is suffering from jet lag and finds he cannot sleep, so spends his time watching TV or drinking in the bar. Meanwhile, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is the young wife of a photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) who has come to Tokyo on business. She had little else to do, so accompanied him, but now she is left to her own devices for much of the day, and also has trouble sleeping. These two lonely souls notice each other in the hotel, and strike up a tentative friendship.

Written by the director Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation continues the dreamlike quality of her first feature, The Virgin Suicides, with a tale of two people brought together by circumstance who discover they have something more in common than being at a loose end in a foreign country. The scenes with Bob trying to acclimatise to Japanese culture are played for laughs, with the actor not really hiding his bemusement with sarcasm he knows the Japanese won't get, but Charlotte's adventures in the city have an almost spiritual quality as she surveys Tokyo from the window of her room, or visits a temple to uncomprehendingly watch the ceremonies held there.

It's over half an hour into the film before the two protagonists speak to each other, and before that we're invited to adopt the outlook of Bob's confusion and sense of being in an alien environment, rather than him being the alien. Some amusing sequences see his troubles in attempting to adapt to the enthusiastic ad director's instructions, minimally translated by his assistant ("Slower, with more intensity!"), or posing for a photographer who wants him to look like Roger Moore. Criticism of the film can be aimed at the cartoonish nature of these Japanese characters, but the film has more depth than a "funny foreigners" spoof - it's not exactly National Lampoon's European Vacation.

In fact, Coppola seems smitten with the place, packing in every sight you'd expect to see, whether it's amusement arcades populated with punkish kids, karaoke, strip clubs or simply the bustling streets lit with neon signs and animated billboards. Rarely has the reflective nature of driving through a city been better employed than here, underlining Bob and Charlotte's outsider status, but also their enchantment. The spaces between events - waiting in elevators, lying awake at four o'clock in the morning, watching TV with nothing better to do - have just as much impact as the events themselves here.

But this makes Bob and Charlotte's relationship more significant, especially as the other Western characters we see are so shallow, in particular a movie star friend (Anna Faris) of Charlotte's husband. The older man and the young woman see a connection in themselves, which is strengthened by their time shared together in bars, at a party, or in Bob's room, where they have a meaningful, but not too deep, conversation about their place in the world. Bob's marriage has grown stagnant (when he phones home his wife says the kids are getting used to him not being there), and Charlotte has no idea what to do with her life. When Bob sleeps with a lounge singer, he feels he's betrayed Charlotte rather than his wife. Expertly acted by both Murray and Johansson, Lost in Translation constantly threatens to become too subtle to bear its own weight, yet the nearly-but-not-quite romance at its heart is surprisingly touching.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4358 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Sofia Coppola  (1971 - )

The first American woman to be nominated for a best director Oscar, Sofia Coppola was born into a film making family, being the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, and she got her start in the business appearing in her father's films such as Rumblefish, Peggy Sue Got Married and, notoriously, The Godfather Part III.

However, she acquitted herself as a movie talent in her own right with the haunting teen drama The Virgin Suicides and the poignant Japanese-set comedy Lost in Translation, for which she won a best screenplay Oscar. Marie Antoinette, however, was not as well received, but her follow-up Somewhere was better thought of, and true crime yarn The Bling Ring raised her profile once again, with her version of The Beguiled winning a prize at Cannes. She is the sister of fellow director Roman Coppola and the cousin of actors Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: