just procrastinating

Monday, February 16, 2004

Lost in Translation
Finally was able to rent Lost in Translation. I thought it was great. The movie is a plaintive story about an aging actor Bob Harris, played by Bill Murray, who is in Tokyo for a week to do an ad for a some kind of whiskey. There, through repeated trips to the hotel bar, he meets a young married woman named Charlotte, who is played by Scarlett Johannson. Charlotte is staying in Tokyo with her husband who is a photographer and is constantly away, so she spends her days in her hotel room or wandering around the city, and her nights at the hotel bar. Both Bob and Charlotte seem to be insomniacs and run into each other a few times and eventually start hanging out together.

The movie is a comedy, but it isn't the Bill Murray from Caddyshack kind of comedy: the humor is from Bob and Charlotte's interactions with the Japanese. But it is also a serious story about two people who meet and make a connection, but it is a connection that won't go anywhere and really shouldn't. Two married people at very different stages in their lives: Charlotte at the beginning, wondering who she is and who she married. Bob at middle age, with kids and no longer in love with his wife. The movie only works because of the tension between the two, and that they never sleep together. It wouldn't be credible if they did.

I never had any interest in visiting Japan, but after seeing this movie, I does have an appeal. The entire city looks like Times Square. I think I read this somewhere else before, but the way it was shot, it really does look like the city in Blade Runner. I really like that Scarlett Johannson. I have never seen her before, but she has a kind of unique soft beauty about her. Although both my wife and I did think she looked pregnant in some of the earlier scenes, so that made the movie confusing until we realized she wasn't (or was she?). Bill Murray does a great job. I am not sure if it is Oscar worthy, but I hope he gets it anyway.

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