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Sofia Coppola: A Name of Her Own “Lost in Translation” (2003) ★★★★★


“Lost in Translation” is one of a kind movie that proves a simple truth – films can be funny, romantic, sensual, profound, and even erotic in such a natural way that it seems the writer and the actors have achieves those results in a natural, effortless ways, as if they did not even attempt to make them that way. And still, we watch those films many a time – again and again.

The film follows Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a faded actor in his home country, who is still appreciated overseas, and a young woman named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who is happily married, yet currently neglected by her husband. Both have many reasons to feel lonely. Both try to somehow fill their empty days to move on. Bob arrives in Kyoto to take part in a whiskey ad endorsement for the local market, where his name still has some value. Charlotte is accompanying her husband John – a renowned photographer. And this is when the two meet each other. Their long night-time conversations grow into a special relationship that only the two of them can understand.

When we first meet Bob, he has a very busy schedule in Kyoto. In fact, he intends not to spend more than a couple days there. Soon, we learn that’s his usual schedule – he does not spend much time at home; his wife and kids are used to not seeing him much, even if he misses their birthdays. Charlotte, on the other hand, lives a completely different life. She is much younger, vibrant and dearly loved by her husband. Although we are not given the slightest reason to doubt his feelings for her, his busy schedule does not allow him to pay enough attention to his wife who is always there for him.

As the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that both Charlotte and Bob find in each other what they are missing in their daily lives – a nice friendly talk.  Their conversations go on and on in a bar or in the hotel room, the two of them never cross the line. Yet, they also realize that intentionally or not, they start falling for each other.

Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, “Lost in Translation” touches upon an intriguing and beautiful relationship that occurs between a man and a woman. Coppola manages to capture those little precious moments of talking about the past, present and even the future that are essential in any relationship and should never be lost in translation. The film won 98 awards, including an Oscar for Best Writing, and another 126 nominations.

In conclusion, Coppola’s piece is tragic in one way and cute in another. It is a well-written and subtly structured film. Through its flawless scenes, the viewer gets to experience Charlotte’s and Bob’s loneliness and their desire to achieve some normality in their lives. Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray deliver delicate and thoughtful performance. By looking at them, one can easily see that they not only give flesh and blood to the characters they portray but also breathe new life into them, which will, eventually, live longer than the life itself. And that is the true beauty of “Lost in Translation”. It always will manage to create the connection with the viewer and reach for their hearts.

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