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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
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
See it twice before forming an opinion. Beautiful movie about a couple of real people in a surreal place. Can't stop watching it. One of the 5 best of 2003.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This edition of the DVD seems made for the rental market; when you first put in the disk you are forced to watch 10 minutes of previews before you can even get to the main menu. Not cool.
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
I enjoy the offbeat, interesting and non-mainstream but sorry...this movie is just a bore from beginning to end. There's one central 'joke' which wears thin after 5 minutes (Bill and Scarlett are the recipients of a constant barrage of Japanese which, of course, they don't understand and so simply mimic back as best they can in an effort to communicate...such scenes go on forever and made me yell 'All right...I GOT IT!') There's about 10 minutes of plot (will Bill and Scarlett make a love connection?) 40 minutes of Bill looking bored and/or confused, and an hour of pulsating Japanese night life. What a disappointment, especially after the way this film was hyped. The Coppola name must make critics lose their common sense, reminiscent of 'The Emperor's New Clothes.' This was at best a 30 minute short dragged out into nearly 2 hours. If you've got absolutely nothing better to do and can get this movie free at the library, then go for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about this movie. Tokyo was captured wonderfully. The characters fully developed through their actions. The soundtrack. Even the Karioke scene was great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so ready to love this film after all the good reviews it's had, but I have to say, I was extremely disappointed w/this movie! It was extremely slow moving and I was not impressed w/Sophia Coppola's directing at all. It was also very annoying in parts( that game show host got on my nerves big time!). However, even w/ all of that, I have to say that the acting was superb! Both leads were fantastic..(I loved the bed scene when she was telling him she feels stuck!) In fact, I thought that Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray should have had more scenes together; they didnt even meet until a 1/2 hour into the movie! The ending was also great...very emotional, and I loved how they didnt let us know what he was whispering to her. It makes us wander what the last thing he said to her was. So on the whole the movie was boring, but the scenes between the 2 leads were excellent!
Guest More than 1 year ago
So simple and universal a theme. I can understand and appreciate how some wouldn't like this film because not a whole lot happens. I can see how it's a love-it or hate-it kind of thing. I fall into the loved-it camp, but then I have felt numbed by my own circumstance and then proceeded to physically remove myself from it. In doing so I recognize and appreciate the surreal dislocated state this can put one in and that is captured so brilliantly here. It is a fine line between being as lost as you have ever been in a foreign land and almost finding yourself because of it, but maybe falling a bit short. It is loneliness that is so deep it aches, but it ultimately leaves you open to doing things or letting someone in that at another time in a different place you never would. It is vulnerable and pure in it's vacuum-like state and that is the beauty of the film. I have never seen true loneliness captured so perfectly. And the surreal over the top striking beauty of Tokyo provides the perfect contrast for the understated emotion of the lost souls. The chemistry between the actors is palapable and that it's never consecrated makes it that much more real. Maybe it's slow to some, but sometimes, one moment in time is so significant that, while fleeting, it seems to move in slow motion. And when it does, we best keep our eyes open and savor it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie not too long ago, and I was just blown away. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are absolutely remarkable, and they portray their characters with such in-depth emotion. The supporting cast is top-notch as well, but it's Bill and Scarlett that make this film, and their characters their own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed in this movie. I am not a big fan of either two main actors, but I wanted to see how Sofia would do on directing this movie. I must say that I am very...unimpressed. I liked The Virgin Sucides a lot, but I felt that this one wasn't that great as everyone says it was. I think that she did a good job in writing the story, but the execution of it was boring. I almost fell asleep nearly a dozen times during the movie! I think she did a great job in writing, and that she deserved her oscar for that, but other wise, I feel that it was extremely boring on screen. I don't think that this movie deserved all of the rave reviews that it got, nor do I think so about her new movie Marie Antionette. Either way, if you are interested in seeing a movie by Sofia Coppola, you might as well stick with The Virgin Sucides. Other wise, don't waste your time or money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this film because it was not produced in the conventional movie sense. I admit I am not a proliffic movie watcher, but the sparring dialogue coupled with the cinematography really moved me in a way few movies have. However, I can see how some may not click with this film, because the plot is not the driving force of the movie but instead, about circumstance and human reaction to it. Both leads were fantastic and had beautiful chemistry on screen. My favorite moment is when they both finally fall asleep together and Bob moves his hand down to touch Charlottes foot...
CooperLS More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining film with Bill Murray at the top of his game and Scarlett Johansson...well..looking like Scarlett Johnansson. Well-directed, beautifully shot, don't miss this one.
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
This movie is great! It is no wonder that Sofia received Oscar's for the script. Actors display their individuality not only naturally but also strongly. The characters' feelings of being 'lost' aboroad and the way they share their feelings are so vividly descripted. Also, the movie accurately shows a temporal atomosphere of Tokyo life from a very unique point of view. Look and see what is happening in the REAL Tokyo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was beautiful. Bill Murray was at his self-deprecating, yet humorous, best. I will say that it's one of those movies that deserves to be viewed more than once (ahem, all you guys who gave it one measley star). The vivid colors and etheral music are as equally important to the atmosphere of the film as the actors are--they give you a sense of emotion, a sense of place. The ending should not be criticized...unless you're the type of person who NEEDS a blatant resolution. This is one of my favorite movies, and I know it has the potential to be that to others, too, if they give it a second chance.
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
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
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.
Bari_Unique More than 1 year ago
This is a very realistic view of our lives--whether celebrity or not. It depicts two characters lost in time (and in translation)who find themselves lost in a cultural divide both in Japan, and in life in general. It gives an interesting glimpse into the different customs and practices found in a foreign country that can be lost to tourists less travelled. As the two main characters portrayed by Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson bumble through the unfamiliar customs of a foreign country, they discover that their own lives have become very foreign to them. They are both stuck in marriages that have become stale and meaningless, yet both seem to stay in them because it appears easier to stay than it is to leave. At the very end, Bill Murray's character has to say goodbye to the female lead played by Johansson--and as he does so, he very quietly, almost audibly, whispers something into her ear which brings a smile of hope to both of their faces. Was it the promise of a future? or merely words of comfort for the moment? You will have to purchase the video and find out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
With all the rave reviews, we expected a lot out of this movie - many laughs, some actual relationship building between the main characters, 'hilarious' interactions that can be found only by trying to communicate in a foreign country/culture when you can not speak the language. I like Bill Murray, and he can be very funny, but this film does not utilize his talent well at all. We waited about 1/2 hour into the film before we figured out what was happening, and then for the next hour and a half or so were wondering where the movie was going, not even laughing or hardly smiling. Very unimpressive. This film is hardly a comedy; I would call it a tragedy - the chronicle of a man's empty life accentuated by a short stay in Tokyo during which he learns nothing, communicates poorly, and changes not at all. Scarlett's character as well seems not to change, except that she grows fond of Murray's character. Has her life changed? The producer does not allow us to find out. I would say it is not worth the time required to sit through it.
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.