Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

3.8 59
Director: Sofia Coppola

Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi


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After making a striking directorial debut with her screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola offers a story of love and friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances in this comedy drama. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a well-known American actor whose career has gone into a tailspin; needing work, he takes a very large fee to appear in a


After making a striking directorial debut with her screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola offers a story of love and friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances in this comedy drama. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a well-known American actor whose career has gone into a tailspin; needing work, he takes a very large fee to appear in a commercial for Japanese whiskey to be shot in Tokyo. Feeling no small degree of culture shock in Japan, Bob spends most of his non-working hours at his hotel, where he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) at the bar. Twentysomething Charlotte is married to John (Giovanni Ribisi), a successful photographer who is in Tokyo on an assignment, leaving her to while away her time while he works. Beyond their shared bemusement and confusion with the sights and sounds of contemporary Tokyo, Bob and Charlotte share a similar dissatisfaction with their lives; the spark has gone out of Bob's marriage, and he's become disillusioned with his career. Meanwhile, Charlotte is puzzled with how much John has changed in their two years of marriage, while she's been unable to launch a creative career of her own. Bob and Charlotte become fast friends, and as they explore Tokyo, they begin to wonder if their sudden friendship might be growing into something more.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The undisputed sleeper hit of 2003, this utterly captivating little drama richly deserves its critical and commercial success, and we're happy to report that, if anything, it's even more bewitching when seen on a small screen. Lost in Translation tells a deceptively slight story, but under the direction of Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides) it becomes an unusually engrossing tale of the basic human longing for connection. Bill Murray, in what is surely his best screen performance to date, portrays a middle-aged movie star whose career is on the wane. Sent to Tokyo to shoot a high-paying series of commercials, the severely jet-lagged actor befriends a commercial photographer's young wife (Scarlett Johansson), who's feeling extremely dislocated and having second thoughts about her hastily arranged marriage while her husband (Giovanni Ribisi) is off on various shoots. The unlikely friendship that springs up between actor and wife -- he's old enough to be her father -- animates this film, which perfectly conveys their simultaneous feelings of loneliness, alienation, and exhaustion. Coppola's script is remarkably short on dialogue, and her direction is preternaturally sensitive and understated. The leading characters' intensity of feeling is conveyed with the simplest of looks and gestures, and there's an almost voyeuristic thrill of discovery to be had while watching their relationship develop from sequence to sequence. Murray's performance is commendable in its restraint, but Johansson's is even more remarkable, especially since she's playing a character who is several years older than she is. Supporting players Ribisi and Anna Faris (as a ditzy blonde actress, reportedly modeled on Cameron Diaz) do fine work; but this show belongs to its two stars. It's extremely rare for such a modest film to be so affecting, but Lost in Translation has beaten the odds, proving yet again that a movie doesn't need lavish special effects, big-name stars, or elaborate action scenes to etch itself forever in your memory.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation is a low-key but emotionally penetrating story that contains a multitude of feelings. Simultaneously delicate and assured, the film is about two people who find each other at the right time in their lives. Scarlett Johansson's confused and lonely Charlotte is smart enough to know that her marriage may be a mistake, but she is not emotionally equipped to know how to handle the problem. Her outstanding performance balances sadness, intelligence, vulnerability, and self-possession. Bill Murray gives the finest performance of his career as the actor who is, thanks to an emotionally stunted marriage and a sell-out career move, suffering from a mid-life crisis. Bob Harris could keep people at a distance with his comedic armor, much like Bill Murray, but he is at a phase in life where he is tired of acting that way. Murray delivers a disciplined, nuanced performance that deserves the highest forms of praise. Coppola herself shows that The Virgin Suicides was not beginner's luck. She frames Japan so that the audience feels how "foreign" it is for her two protagonists, while still showing great respect for the people and the culture even when her characters, in their more selfish moments, do not. With two films to her credit, Sofia Coppola has proven herself to be a master of tone and indirect characterization. The natures of the people in this film are revealed through behavior and through conversations that usually have very little to do with the plot. We get a glimpse of the depth of Charlotte's unhappiness in a phone call to a friend, and Bob's karaoke performance reveals his contained emotions for this young woman who has touched him in ways he believed were untouchable. Lost in Translation is a beautiful film. It is beautifully shot, but most importantly what passes between Bob and Charlotte is beautiful. Their time together will stay with each of them, and the viewer, for a very long time.
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum
What's astonishing about Sofia Coppola's enthralling new movie is the precision, maturity, and originality with which the confident young writer-director communicates so clearly in a cinematic language all her own.
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell
Here he (Murray) supplies the kind of performance that seems so fully realized and effortless that it can easily be mistaken for not acting at all.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

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.
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan
The fact that this kind of serious material ends up playing puckishly funny as well as poignant is a tribute both to Coppola and to her do-or-die decision to cast Murray in the lead role.
New York Post - Lou Lumenick
It's impossible to conceive of this ruefully funny entertainment without Bill Murray, who is nothing less than brilliant.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Focus Features
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Deleted Scenes; On the Set of Sofia Coppola's Somewhere; A Conversation With Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola; "Lost" On Location; Matthew's Best Hit TV; Kevin Shields "City Girl" Music Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bill Murray Bob Harris
Scarlett Johansson Charlotte
Giovanni Ribisi John
Anna Faris Kelly
Fumihiro Hayashi Charlie
Catherine Lambert Jazz Singer

Technical Credits
Sofia Coppola Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Lance Acord Cinematographer
Air Score Composer
KK Barrett Production Designer
Richard Beggs Sound/Sound Designer
Francis Ford Coppola Executive Producer
Sarah Flack Editor
Mitch Glazer Associate Producer
Ross Katz Producer
Takahide Kawakami Asst. Director
Ryoichi Kondo Casting
Drew Kunin Sound/Sound Designer
Towako Kuwajima Set Decoration/Design
Roger Joseph Manning Score Composer
Tomomi Nishio Set Decoration/Design
Brian Reitzell Score Composer
Fred Roos Executive Producer
Anne Ross Production Designer
Stephen Schible Co-producer
Kevin Shields Score Composer
Nancy Steiner Costumes/Costume Designer
William Storkson Score Composer
Mayumi Tomita Art Director


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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie may have been a little slow to start, but it is only what the director, Sofia Copolla, is trying to show their loneliness through. Some people may not have liked the open ending, but drama needs mystery and question. I do not find this movie degrading to the Japanese culture at all. It is a visualistic masterpiece with real characters and it tells a true story. The feeling is poignant and poetic and it reveals the simple trues of everyday life and everyday connections between different people. This movie is definitely worthy of its nominations and it has a definite meaning. The comedy is not forced and it feels fluent. Bob Harris and Charlotte are two very lonely people who are almost trapped in the confines of a Japanese Hotel. They both must overcome the cultural differences. They meet each other and their friendship disregards their age and feeds off of their characteristics and human qualites. They fall in love, not with each other's looks, but in each other's character and being. This is a wonderful movie and the acting is just as influential to the storyline as the directing. Bill Murray can show his feelings through just his actions and movement, speach is barely needed. Scarlet Johansen is masterfully compelling as a lonely young wife bored with her new marriage. This movie is a mile marker and innovative in showing a love story through simple cinematography and powerful acting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film has got to be the most beautiful movie I have ever seen . . . ever! Bill Murray's classic humour and Scarlette Johanneson's intoxicating charm temper the disparaging theme of being lost that permeates the film. Sofia Coppola has made a true masterpiece here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone who spent a year living in Tokyo, I can vouch for the honest emotions in this film. Cringingly funny and true to life homage to Japan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is mildly amusing at best and thats only because your two main stars are interesting. The movie doesnt tell a story and goes no where. Its missing a beginning and an end. Maybe the movie simply put, got Lost in Translation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simple brilliance. This movie gets better with every viewing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps its because I do a bunch of business travelling. But ... it's so real. This movie really does capture the loneliness of hotel living. There's not a single false moment in this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie that when credits roll you will say ¿what a waste of my time¿. You will feel somewhat confused and disappointed. But you won't be able to stop thinking about it for days, remembering small details, until you finally understand Coppola's shocking message: maybe love is something short and circumstantial, something amazing and comfortable that you experience with someone for short periods of time during your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had read a lot of glowing reviews of this movie, and being fond of Bill Murray I eagerly went to see it. Well, if you like a movie about nothing in which absolutely nothing happens and which has no point, this is the one for you. Bill Murray, except for a few flashes of acting, goes through most of the movie as if he were heavily tranquilized.Scarlett Johannsen spends inordinate amounts of time gazing out her hotel window. Best acting in the picture: Tokyo at night. But it can't carry the whole film. I may not be the most astute moviegoer, but I don't consider myself a total philistine. But I'll be honest -- I did not 'get' this movie at all. I wish I had my money back on this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film had so much beauty to it, especially with the portrayal of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. The flim was alos deep, showing themes on what it's like being lost. The script was incredible, and the movie deserves all the claim its getting
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the fantastic fimlms of the year. Bill Murray is truly proving himself as not only a slapstick comedian, but now a master thespian. Scarlet Johannsen is a fantastically gleaming star as well. These performances will knock your socks off!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After spending a month in different countries, I understand how a person could feel as if life kinda sucked... not knowing the language is bad enough, but there's a reason why somebody coined the term 'culture shock.' What I don't understand is why the main characters didn't try to learn a bit of Japanese to get around or ask questions about the culture. Sure they both probably didn't want to be there, but at least they could have tried to understand what the people around them were saying (and try to understand what's up with the mobile political campaigns... errr, TV viewers... anybody home?) Anyway, I like this flick 'cause it reminded me of being in Europe when I didn't speak any of the languages of the countries I visited. It also made me think a lot about people and what they do to get by in times of a 'crisis.' The minimal dialogue left more to the imagination, and I enjoy a flick that encourages thinking and discussions of one's own interpretation. Hey, I'm writing this review for you to agree or disagree... right?? However, I am recommending this film to anyone who has been away from their country or had feelings of being alienated from all that is right in their world... even from sense of self. This film just isn't about people that fret in another country. It displays how people come to re-evaluate their selfworth and how people manage their lives when thrown into certain situations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Based on the critical acclaim, we were eager to see this film. Imagine our surprise when we realized it was no better than what is probably being produced in a junior high film class. Look, here's the bottom line, this is a nothing film. There is little story and even less acting. The award nominations are extremely difficult to comprehend. This movie for Best Picture and no nomination for Cold Mountain? Do yourself a favour, get lost on the way to the video store.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Disappointed, bored and convinced -- this is a politically nominated movie! The Last Samurai by far exceeded the acting, action, story, language, translation, cinematography, and emotions conveyed via filmography. I laughed when Bill was trying to converse with the Japanese, but to gloss over and never translate what the people are saying loses much of the credibility of the director, who seems to denigrate the culture of Japan as well. The only thing I enjoyed about the movie was the background scenery -- Mt. Fuji, Shinkansen, temples, street crossings in Shinjiku, etc. I should have rented, not purchased, this DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What is this movie about? Loneliness? Adultery? Being able to connect with someone? Cultural differences? Its hard to tell. One thing for sure - this movie does well in cementing negative stereotypes of the Japanese people. What a terrible disservice to an entire nation to make a movie so condescending and cruel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's an interview with Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola on this DVD in which Murray declares that 'Lost in Translation' is 'my favorite movie...that I've been in'. A tip. Read the four and five star reviews; these are written by people who understood this fascinating, subtle film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A step up from the Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola is starting to mature as a director. The movie itself is beautiful, if a bit confusing at times. Seeing it only once doesn't really do the film justice. Upon first viewing, so many of the dialogue-free scenes seem extraneous, but with a second viewing they fit so much more. The film is obviously held up by Bill Murray's superior performance; you really see why Coppola said she would not make the film if he wasn't the star. Scarlett Johansson's performance is good, very fitting, but far from amazing. Their relationship and on-screen chemistry, on the other hand, is stunning. It's no wonder so many people are thrown off by this movie because the relationship is something rarely seen on screen and nothing is spelled out for the viewer, it forces you to draw conclusions and fill in gaps on your own. And yes, stereotypes of Japan are fleshed out, but to be fair, so are American stereotypes. The film is definately worth seeing, if for no other reason to see Bill Murray give a touching, heartfelt performance (like the semi-autobiographical dialogue about children.. amazing) that is clearly worth the Oscar nomination (at the very least), but don't expect to be blown away by the movie as a whole.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie without knowing anything about it. As the credits rolled, I knew I just watched the worst movie I had viewed in years. The condescending juvenile humor directed towards the Japanese made me cringe. They are shorter than us. How funny! They don't speak english as well as us. How funny! The theme of loneliness and separation could have worked in another vehicle but not this one. It was just boring. I'm amazed it is getting the reviews I'm hearing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like her earlier film ('The Virgin Suicides') Sofia Coppola has created the mood of the movie through the actors and their surroundings, not through dialog. The love between the two characters is so strong, but is also subtle. Bill Murray is at his best, this was his role of a lifetime, and he proves in this movie what a great actor he really is. I think that people who didn't like this movie, or didn't 'get' this movie were expecting an earlier version of Bill Murray. He is not the loud, sometimes abnoxious, always obviously funny man that his fans are used to. Instead the humor is more simple, and this is a grown-up Bill. Before I watched this film, I could honestly say I really didn't like anything Murray had ever done, because I don't like the crass humor I associated with his comedies. But he has proved to me that is an Oscar-worthy actor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bill Murray has always been very funny to me, but in this film i just had to pull out the DVD in the middle of the movie..I just couldn't stand how slow and Un-Funny this movie was; I was amazed to hear it won an award.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film, to be honest, changed me as a whole. I am a 16 year old, naive, high school kid from the Midwest and although I'm not exposed to as many artistic films as in other, more cultured regions and this one in particular caught my attention and gained my respect within the first few minutes of viewing it. To describe the movie is like trying to describe what air tastes like - it isn't very easy. All I have to say is that the acting in this movie is the best I've ever seen in any motion picture. Throughout a very small (but very important) amount of dialogue and an extremely impressive amount of chemistry between the two main characters - I found myself feeling as they did: lost in a circus of a world that proves to be so blatantly simple but tremendously intricate at the same time. I found Bill Murray's character to be on the border of completely believable and surrealistic - the way a character ought to be. The tone this movie projected was perfect - all brought about by the cinematography (which I'd rather not explain... I hate to butcher thoughts with words. Let us just say that it is higher up on the grading scale). This movie, in essence, gave me a kick in the behind that I believe I needed, especially as a kid. I saw life in this movie. And, in essence, this movie is life, plain and simple (but the film proves what an oxymoron that clause truly is.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bill Murray plays Bill Murray, a has-been actor lost in Japanese culture. Cappola's slow moving, rather boring B movie simply puts one to sleep. It's sad that this film was so richly awarded for such mediocrity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola, is an interesting movie. Seeing Japan from western foreigners¡¦ point of view. Tokyo and Kyoto have two same syllables ¡§kyo¡¨ and ¡§to¡¨, but just put the words in reverse position, they represent the old and new Japan. What is geniune beauty? Properious city life or tranquility of temples? What makes the movie so special? I guess it talks about the conection of strangers in foreign place. Language, culture, distance, race, food, lifestyle ¡K everything is so different from home. Does loneliness make you know yourself better or make you get lost? Light, music, alcohol, killing eye contact, warm temperature of human body, can they make you feel better or just get more confused? I gonna find the answer in Tokyo ¡V a mixture of known and unknown.