Is it just me or does anyone think that this movie is just a celebration of incredibly shallow people?
I didnt like the movie either, it seemed like Sofia Coppola was trying to copy Antonioni.
Your not alone RaySquirrel, I actually sort of thought the same thing.
hahaha, my thoughts exactly. I thought Bill Murray was bland, and Sofia Coppola seemed to revel in her ignorance of another culture like any other Ugly American. I mean, jokes about Japanese people’s R/L difficulties in pronunciation are so Mickey Rooney-ish. It was such a superficial gloss by people who just skimmed the surface of Tokyo, which is a really interesting place…all in all a pretty boring film that surely doesn’t live up to it’s hype. And I’m sure someone will come back with something along the lines of “that’s the intent, you just didn’t get it” but surely superficiality is nothing to be proud of.
I watched the film in horror as it seemed most of the audience was in hysterics over the racist jokes. The film improved in the second half in which the relationship developed and there were some pretty shots of the city at night. Many find Murray’s persona, here and in Broken Flowers, very cool, but coolness does not a great film make. Superficial gloss yes and a big disappointment.
I personally love the movie but I can certainly see how others would dislike it. For me, I suppose the thought of traveling to a country far from my own, meeting a random face, spending time with that face, and then to leave without any expectation of meeting that face ever again has always felt like something that would excite me.
Coppola herself has related how fascinating Tokyo was when she visited but it’s easy to get lost so to speak. I’m Korean but my first conscious visit to Korea was only a couple years ago. I can’t speak the language as well as the native speakers can so I felt an odd undercurrent of solitude come over me – despite the hustle and bustle that overwhelms cities like Seoul. And much like Scarlett Johansson in the film, it’s comforting to meet someone you can actually relate to linguistically as well as culturally. I met a caucasian kid during my stay there who had been teaching English there for about a year. I literally exclaimed at the fact that he was from American soil and could speak English. We hung out for most of that night. So, considering my own experiences, Lost in Translation worked for me.
whats the boundary line between a film actually being good and only being good because it reminds you of some fond personal memory?
I wanted to like Lost in Translation, I tried to like it and kept hoping for SOMETHING to happen that would make me like it, but it never materialized. Both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are fine and the photography is great…and the oddball scene with the Murray and the hooker(?) was priceless, but the movie was a real dead fish (or at least a bad piece of sushi…eegad).
@BobbyWise: I suppose where we differ is that I don’t believe in such a boundary. For me, what the spectator brings to it and makes of the connection is just as integral in making a film good or bad.
I didn’t see anything wrong with the movie, its just a look at these 2 people wandering about in Japan. I was never bored during the entire movie, it always kept my interest and kept me watching. Maybe you’re taking the movie too seriously?
I love the movie. There’s alot of youthful confusion. The desire to be good at something and feel like you ought to be good at something, but the indecisiveness about what that something may be. I am very young and I understand what Sofia Coppola was trying to express. You see, today’s adolescent generation is exposed to alot of very empty, frivilous, and shallow culture. To be well read, well watched, and well educated is difficult. Very few see the value in being culturally well-versed. Those who are find it hard to comunicate and thus we feel lost. It flusters me.
its true that you’re exposed to a lot of disposable culture. but its not difficult to be well-read and well-educated. go read a book, or study in school!
thats a different story if one doesnt see value in being well-versed culturally. but i understand you responding to the theme of being “lost in translation” in a culturally-bankrupt world, unable to communicate with kindred spirits.
I mean that it’s difficult to be that way around those who aren’t. If you see value in it, you seek it out and thrive on it. But even those who are well educated aren’t necessarily cultured. I go to a prep school and my classmates still watch the disney channel. I watch Woody Allen movies every Friday night. They don’t even know who Woody Allen is, yet they could end up getting into Yale.
you’re just mature beyond your years. i loved watching “saved by the bell” when i was in high school. that was kinda the equivalent of watching the disney channel, from what i can tell. and the only woody i knew graduating from high school was woody woodpecker.
i personally love the subtlety of the movie and thought the protagonists delivered beautiful performances. Tokyo looks positively magical and i connected on some level with the characters. We’ve all had similar experiences of alienation and finding comfort in that one special person.True its a little slow but nevertheless a little gem.
yup i agree with you 100% cesar. i personally didn’t think it was that slow though, it just gives you time to get impressed by the cinematography which i also loved.
I’m gonna join the side defending this film because I absolutely loved it. I loved the style of it, the way she played with contrasts, in age, world views, perspective, imagery. I even used the film as an extra text in my last English exam, as a comparison to the poetry of Emily Dickinson under “belonging”.
Also, you’re halfway there with an awesome soundtrack!
“What does Scarlett Johannsen say to Bill Murray at the end?”
“But, she says something!”
No, she doesn’t. Nothing was written into the script. No I don’t know that for sure, but I can pretty much tell.
“Then why was it there?”
I call it an “art button.” It’s something that people put into things to set off audience’s impressions of it being artistic and thoughtful. If it’s something you can see a bunch of forty year old women sitting at a coffee shop discussing for a half an hour using words like, “WON-derful!” and “MES-merizing!”, then it’s an art button. The irony of an art button is that they are almost 100% meaningless.
“So you’re saying that Scarlett Johanssen says nothing to Bill Murray, but that that scene is in there so that people will be tricked?”
No. I’m saying that it’s in there for the very purpose that forty year old women can call it WON-derful and discuss what she might have said while sitting and drinking chai at a coffeeshop.
um…PolarisDiB…that scene was improv. Bill Murray just did it. There was no arthouse trickery involved…
I stand by my reading. The editing kept it.
I agree with Jung Ji Sung that what a viewer can take from a film or what kind of visceral/cerebral response a film can elicit are significant components in not only how we enjoy film, but how much we value it. I liked Lost In Translation for those reasons.
There was something definitely personal or intimate in the way Sophia Coppola expressed the theme of alienation – from society, self, and on the literal level, foreign cultures, and also the unique and nebulous relationship between Bill Murray’s character and Scarlett Johannsen’s character. That these two disparate individuals – one old enough to be the other’s father – could connect in ways that they couldn’t connect with their own spouses was made plausible, even natural in this setting. Although I’m not a big fan of S. Coppola’s other work, I felt she did a great job expressing what it’s like to be in that “place” in one’s life – lonely, isolated, jaded, insecure, longing to connect, but not knowing to what or to whom, and searching for meaning in things. These feelings came across very powerfully – especially in my second or third viewing of the film.
I admit, though there are other things that I think only a certain few might relate to – but were the parts of the film that I enjoyed the most, especially on first viewing. One of them is the whole strangeness of Japanese culture to the visiting American – I appreciated the hilarity of some of the scenes that were in Japanese and purposely not translated for the non-Japanese audience to help create the sense of confusion that Bill and Scarlett’s characters were experiencing. Having been to Japan and lived there for several years, I’m able to understand some of the language and culture – see both sides of the coin so to speak, and appreciate both perspectives. In that regard, Sophia did an excellent job portraying Japan as it truly is, and Japanese people the way they really are. So often I’ve been frustrated with the stereotypical image of the culture and people in other films.
At the very least, this film is funny and entertaining – a way to experience culture shock without personally having to endure loneliness, embarrassment and confusion.
@POLARISDIB — did you even watch the movie? Your description of the scene is backwards. And why the smug disdain for forty-year-old women? “WON-derful!” is a considerably more intelligent response than your absurd speculation that he whispered nothing but nonsense syllables.
I did watch the movie—three times, in fact (once in theatres, later my mother wanted to see it, then my friends wanted me to “explain it to them” because they “didn’t get it” and we watched it and I had nothing. Nothing). It has been years, though. Meanwhile, I’m surprised everyone hasn’t met the specific character I’m talking about. They’re like hipsters, except that they’re older and yuppies. I don’t know, they’re everywhere around here, I thought they were a common type, and by the way, some of my mother’s friends and even some of MY friends are those women, and I love them dearly but I like givin’em shit for it, too. It’s all in good humor, I’m sorry that didn’t come across correctly. Finally, I’m sure he didn’t whisper nonsense syllables, I’m sure he came up with something. But to the audience, nothing was stated and nothing could be retrieved.
The IMDb is drowning in accusations of superficiality among a movie’s detractors and counter-accusations of pretention among a movie’s admirers (or vice versa), and sometimes this site seems to be heading in that direction. You know, comments typifying the kind of person who likes or dislikes a movie, rather than comments directed to the movie itself. It’s not a big deal in any given instance, but the cumulative effect is a bit joyless. It irks me just as much when Ebert (precisely because I generally like him) writes that it says more about the person than about the movie if they don’t like Lost in Translation — as if there weren’t plenty of intelligent people with intelligent objections to LiT.
Sorry for being snitty.
The ending struck me as neither profound nor pseudo-profound. It was plausible for the character to whisper something in her ear, and leaving it inaudible was one reasonable option. Leaving blanks for the viewer to fill in can be lazy, but it can also be satisfying. It worked for me.
what the hell is a hipster anyway? i’m tired of that word. it sounds corny as hell.
I hate to argue and debate about why I find a film to be great, so I won’t bother.
All I want and even care to say about this film is that I connected to it in a very profound way.
I was a confused and alienated 13 year old, baffled by the disposable culture he experience everyday in school and at his highly relegious home and alienated because there wasn’t a soul in sight who would understand the muttered and confused emotions I would try to relenquish.
Coppola, whether she is an original or not, has crafted a delicate and intimate film about alienation in modern urban society and the warmth of the realization that there are in fact others with whom you can relate.
Good for you Boycrumb, never allow others to break your heart by trying to convince you that a film you love is less than mediocre. I decided one day that we can all “analyze” films to death, but a movie is really only as great as the effect it has over you, in your life, as an individual.
I don’t believe in modern-day hippies or hipsters. Hipsters were jazz fanatics from the 40s.
Hippies were long-haired freedom-loving people from the 60s. All that’s left is a generation of the pseudo-nostalgic socially-confused, obsessed with finding/defining identities by recalling bygone subcultures that they actually know very little about.
That said, I am not a hipster and I love this movie.
To me, LIT is about losing the magic in everyday life. Knowing there is beauty all around you but not feeling quite a part of it – until you meet someone that is right there with you.