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Jan 6, 2004


Well, I'm giving this movie a 5.

Is it pretentious? Maybe. A non-existent plot? Probably. Is it good? I think so.

A lot of the humour comes from the culture-shock setting. Are the Japanese represented by caricatures? Yeah, probably. (But from what I hear, the portrayal doesn't seem all that far from truth, but that's only hearsay.) I did laugh quite a bit through the first half, but that may be because I'm sorta aware of the general kinds of Asian responses to foreigners (I should know, I'm one myself).

But that really isn't the point. Say what you will about the Japanese being a rich culture with a depth that belies the neon-lined streets of Shinjuku. Great. That's just not the point here; the characters are merely visitors, and as such their perception of the culture is confined to the superficials. (What do you want, Orson Scott Card, a complete cultural exegesis in under two hours? Let's see YOU do that AND make a coherent film about something.)

As I understand it, the caricature treatment given to the Japanese culture is merely meant to serve as a foil. They bring out how lost and alone the main characters feel. You're in a foreign city brushing shoulders with foreign people, with an imposing urban landscape with bright lights everywhere; but you can't access any of that vibrance, you're confined to yourself. (No wonder Charlotte doesn't feel anything when she goes to the temple; she's making the effort to try to understand, to try to orient herself within the Japanese experience, but she just can't.) And when you're that alone, the questions about who you are, what you are, and just exactly what it is you're doing, becomes that much more pronounced. She cries not because she thinks she should have but failed to make a meaningful connection with the deep Japanese culture at the temple; she didn't like what she saw when everything else surrounding her was taken away. At least that's how I see it.

I guess I'm making a long-winded "You just don't get it" post, but I really don't think the movie's just a cinematic version of an E/N post. If it is, then dammit, wasn't that just infinitely better than the average whinging E/N post?


Beef Hardcheese
Jan 21, 2003

I didn't get this movie, didn't really like it all that much, and am not sure where all the praise came from. It's an interesting premise, and has a few good points, but I never felt a narrative flow emerging. Just semi-random incidents in the lives of two strangers in a place they don't understand. Possible story threads are raised, but the movie doesn't go anywhere with them, they're left hanging and forgotten. Such as after Bob's one-night stand with the lounge singer, and the complete lack of discussion of this by Charlotte. Or the obvious marital issues that both are having, which are only touched on in a rambling enlightenment speech by Bob. I wasn't expecting them to run off together in the end (and would've been even more disappointed if they had, to be fair), but it only felt like half a movie. The boring, "transitional" half, at that. The fact that the movie is barely 100 minutes adds to this sense of incompletion.

Before tonight (and through most of the first part of the movie), I wondered if my ability to understand Japanese would "ruin" the movie, and I'm glad to say that's not the case. It was the random, disjointed, and irrelevant script that ruined it for me.

Rated 2/5

Swivel Master
Oct 10, 2004

Floating in much the same way that bricks don't.

I'm a film student, but you know what? I don't go to movies and overanylize them while I'm watching them for the first time. I just enjoy them. And for what Lost in Translation was for me the first time I saw it, I enjoyed it. I thought it was good entertainment, well acted, fun, and very nice to look at (and I'm not just talking about SJ in her undies).

I saw it a while ago so I'm not going to go on a lot of specifics... I just felt like posting a bit of my opinion after reading a bunch of negative reviews.

Feb 21, 2002


After hearing a lot of praise for this movie I wondered what all the fuss was about.

Charlotte (Johanssen) is lonely and looking for depth in her life. Bob (Murray) is depressed about the twilight of his career and his disconnect with his family. The centerpiece of the story is these two characters recognizing each other's loneliness and unexpectedly finding friendship.

I don't think it was as pretentious as many detractors say. The characters were not "deep", but it doesn't really matter. The important part was showing two people at very different points in their lives making an improbable connection. There was some understandable jealousy and friction between them at one point, but unlike most movies this one didn't pull out the drama llama.

Yet I'm still mostly wondering what the fuss is about. The home-movie stretches where the camera (or Charlotte) goggled at Tokyo sights were just boring. So was Bob hamming it up talking to Japanese people he didn't understand.

It was a nice movie with two characters made out of something other than cardboard, but it wasn't a classic.

3.5 out of 5.

Clown Meadows
Jul 13, 2003

YARRRR! Where be the gray matter up in this piece, son?

I can see how people find this boring, but I guess I'm just one of those who really enjoyed it. Like someone else mentioned, it just made me feel nice inside. I just enjoyed this movie for what it was.

the black husserl
Feb 25, 2005

This is the only film I can recall seeing that actually focused purely on how the lives of two people would be. Horrifically depressing because it's so true to life. And just because it ends, doesn't mean these characters stop changing.

Jan 9, 2006


I just want to say that this is my favorite movie.

I may enjoy it so much because I feel lik it hits so close to home - it combines realitic problems and issues that I feel like I can relate to very well.

I should point out that in general I personally do not overly enjoy "slow" movies, and this is deffinetly one of them. The sound track is spectacular in my opinion, and goes with the theme/feel of the movie extremly well. Acting is perfect, and both main characters (Scarlet Johanson and Bill Murey) portray their characters perfectly.

Again, I love movies of ALL sorts (ok, not horror), and watch them/review them in my head often. For many hear I could never have a "favorite" movie. But finally, once I saw this (twice) I finally have a clear favorite (next is Chung King Express, then Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind, then Love Actually - oddly enough, all love stories)

i personally like to think that in the end, Bob wispers something like "Maybe we should stay in touch" or something equally "happy ending". I know its complicated, but really for the characters sake, and the sake of my own emotion, it just seems too sad if such a beautiful thing just disapears and both characters go back to their unhappy, unhealthy marriages

Hippo Eats Midget
Jan 4, 2006

I actually had to watch this movie before i could really understand it. As everyone in my house is so loving loud i couldn't hear anything the first time. Anyway the 2nd time i could hear it and understand it better. And it was just a really great story about those two characters and their whole pseudo-relationship they have going.

This film is about what happens to the characters, its more about the characters themselves. It's really hard to explain but i'm sure those of you who liked it understand what i mean.


Great film.

Doctor Happypuds
Feb 16, 2006
Tastyhumanburgers is okay I guess.

paperchaseguy posted:

It was a nice movie with two characters made out of something other than cardboard, but it wasn't a classic.

I agree with this. It -was- a nice athmospheric movie with in-debt character development, a smooth-as-silk soundtrack. Location, originality to a degree, and definately humour.

..But not a classic.


Sep 6, 2005

ain't carryin no fuckin pads

I had high hopes for this movie because a lot of my friends had recommended it to me, but I too was disappointed with my viewing. I felt the movie just dragged on and made the movie a lot longer than it should have been. The cinematography was great. Very nice environment and atmosphere, but the story itself was prosaic and uninspiring. I only gave it one viewing however, so perhaps I need to give it another go before I "get it." But based on my initial viewing, I'm going to go ahead and give the movie a score of:


Feb 12, 2003

ouch my knee

hurrrrrrrrrrr japan hurrrrrrrrrr


Sep 15, 2004

naw, you love it
you little ho-bot

I really liked it. The developing relationship was good, and I thought the ending was excellent. I can understand why it's not to some people's tastes, but it was just a really nice story about two people finding something special about each other.

Dec 27, 2003

I really enjoyed watching this movie. I think that you really need to have something in common with the characters to appricate them. The film can't stir up particular emotions if they don't already exist in the viewer. I don't mean to sound judgmental or arrogant; it's just that people seem to either love the film or hate it. It's a case of "nothing happened" or "a lot happened". Two of of my friends thought the characters were extremely boring, whilst others accused them of not understanding body language.
Lost in Translation isn't a film for somebody who's never experienced boredom and loniless in a vibrate foreign culture. Nor is it a film for somebody who's never had to make a difficult choice concerning relationships. I don't think it's suitable for somebody who's completely happy either. Such a person may want to scream at the television and tell the character's to grow the gently caress up.
The film sucked me in completely. At the end of the film I had a very odd serene feeling. I felt that the character's had to get on with their average lives and so did I. Yet everything was ok.
I don't think critics who claim to understand the film actually do. There's nothing to understand, it's just pure escapism.

The cinematography and music are also very nice. The script walks on a tightrope between melodrama and romantic comedy. It doesn't take a single false step either. I kept waiting and waiting for something stupid to happen. My worries were unnesassery.


The film will either make you feel serene or bored.

Edit: I'm also not in a hurry to visit Japan. I feel that the film could work equally well with Asian characters in New York. Hell, it'd work with British characters in New York, if the stereotype machine were turned on full blast.

knork fucked around with this message at 18:58 on Mar 23, 2006

Jul 17, 2005

by T. Finn

I rarely ever stop watching a movie even if its horrible. However this one I couldnt stand to watch any longer and turned off most of the way through. There is no story, no plot, and the characters dont have anything to say. My own life is more interesting than this movie.


May 7, 2005

by Eris Is Goddess

I voted 4.5

This is not the typical love story.

I think of this movie as sitting on a far side of a pendulem. On the opposite side is triple x with Vin Diesel. In triple x things happen throughout the entire movie - like a motorcycle chase. The motorcycle chase happens (pretty much) just for the sake of happening. That is the movie. An action packed adventure. LiT is a movie about two people falling in love with each other and bla bla bla... but thats all the movie is (pretty much). Theres not much to get. It just is a great love story.

Mar 14, 2006

I understand that the point of the movie was to be a lot of nothing, but it got really annoying. It was mainly just Bill Murray looking at tables that were too small for him with a ridiculous grimace all over his face like he just got punched in the testicles. Sappy, lame crush story thrown in the mix and you have yourself a terrible movie with totally undeserved hype.


Feb 16, 2005
Ask me about my lego spheres!

A mood piece, beautifully subtle, and great performances by the two lead roles.

I remember being impressed with Eternal Sunshine when I saw it, not for the whole memory-erasal part, but because I thought it communicated something close to "true happiness". Suddenly it looked slightly fussy and obvious after watching Lost In Translation.


edit: I suggest trying to watch it either on your own or with people who don't talk during movies.

lionlegs fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Mar 30, 2006

May 27, 2001

Most of the bad reviews of this film will come from guys who play the role that Giovanni Trabisi does in this film and the reason they think "nothing happens" is because nothing happens to the only guy even remotely related to their position. There's a pre-20s girl (presumably she's supposed to be early 20s in this) and a middle aged, married with children actor and I think most guys will have trouble relating to their story. In particular I loved that one guy that rubbished the idea of "nothing happening" in the Big Lebowski only to say that the only thing that happens in Lost in Translation is "Bill Murray" goes to a bar. What a crock of poo poo.

I hated the portrayal of the Japanese people as the comedic element of the film but I also hated the portrayal of every white 20ish person in this film other than the female lead to be a loving annoying vacuous twat. So I guess ultimately there was no intended commentary on the Japanese culture other than sometimes its much better than ours and sometimes its quite annoying, which I think is fair and not racist or scathing like some people feel the directory was trying to portray. That's about the only thing I didn't like.

I absolutely adored the relationship between Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. The fact that they didn't "get together" at the end and that he said something to her that 'made it all better' but you didn't even get to hear it, all these little touches - I think these will be things that will become cliché but at the time I had never saw anything like that before so they were great. If anything the story reminded me of a Murakami book (maybe because he's Japanese but whatever) in that it's a story between two people that love each other but not really a love story. It's more like a story of two people in seemingly comfortable, loving relationships who re-evaluate their situation only when they place a distance between themselves and their normal environment. Clarity with distance, that kind of poo poo. I liked that message.

It is nowhere near the "best film ever" nor is it groundbreaking or anything like that, but for someone who is pretty cynical about relationships in real life and especially in Hollywood, I found the message here a pretty relevant one.

I definitely have to be "in the mood" for this though, which I consider a bad thing as clasically "great" films usually drag me into the mood kicking and screaming.


Feb 23, 2005

by Ozma

I hate dramas but I enjoyed this movie, largely for its humor, its atmosphere, and just a certain quality I can't place. It's not a drama really. But it's told from the perspectives of Bill and Scarlett, which is important to remember for the people claiming racism. Bill's character just doesn't think very highly of Japanese culture; it seems very strange to me. Scarlett's character, however, likes them and has Japanese friends, though the alienness of the culture gets to her early in the movie. But she has worse opinions on other Americans, so they appear stupid in her scenes.

Anyway the movie is definitely worth a rent, though it's a hard sort of thing to describe and I suspect everyone gets different things out of it.

4.5/5, if that means anything.

Feb 2, 2006

I lived in Japan for a while during college, and what I liked most about this film was how it captured the strange sense of alienation and loneliness one feels when being in a completely foreign culture for the first time. It's kind of a unique sensation to be surrounded by people but feel alone. I didn't feel offended by the portrayl of Japanese culture at all and it was a pleasure to see the performances of the Japanese actors.

On the other hand, I found the pacing of the movie so slow as to become boring at points.

Overall, I give it a 4.0/5.

Sep 11, 2001

We go play orbital catch around the curvature of the earth, son.

I thought this was a very charming film that did a lot with a very simple story. At times it feels like we're taking place in some kind of idle documentary of the lives of these people while other times we're participating in what they're experiencing. This is a film to watch with your best friends, or your date, and will leave you all feeling very warm.

I look forward with great anticipation towards the future work of the talented young writer/director responsible for this gem of a film.


Jun 19, 2001
Find hungry samurai!


Orson Scott Card said of the movie:

"This is pure undergraduate filmmaking -- as so many independent movies are -- in which a general air of superiority and ennui is meant to be taken for intelligence and deep insights. I've seen enough of these (and enough of this kind of storytelling) to know that what we're really seeing is the filmmaker's soul.

The people of Japan aren't shallow. Writer/director Sofia Coppola is. If she went to Japan and this is all she saw, then shame on her."
I find it funny that the writer of Ender's Game, a book that rolls in its use of an air of superiority and ennui to make itself seem significant, would use those terms to try to critique a film. To call the films characterization of the japanese people shallow or racist requires a lot of tunnel vision. The characters interactions with the goofy side of Tokyo are equalled by as many scenes with the writers/directors obvious love for distinct and subtle parts of japanese culture. Tokyo, or just big cities in general, have strange things going on. It is not uncommon for people unaccustomed to such things to be put off.

Personally, I think the film is great. Its a strange love letter to Japan mixed with a nuisanced plot about an odd couple experiencing crossroads in their relationships. Its full of downkey scenes where not everything is spelled out in bold letters. I don't think it tries to deliver any life altering messages, so to say its pretenious is asinine.

One of my favorite films, 5/5

Jan 15, 2004

This is possibly the most boring film I have ever seen.

I guess I just don't get it. I'm not a mid/late 30's guy clamouring to get out of a relationship I don't want to be in, nor am I a 20 year old spoiled brat of a girl who wants out of a relationship with a film producer.
The whole film is just so uneventful and I thought all the characters were very unlikeable.
The only redeeming things are the soundtrack and the scenery.

Jan 7, 2008

just chillin' in the club

Lipstick Apathy

I really enjoyed this movie. I understand a lot of the complaints that not a lot happens, but I think the point of this movie is just to get to know the characters, connect with the emotions they feel throughout everything, and let yourself be taken in by the sights and sounds of Tokyo which are fantastically represented. Murray and Johannson do a fantastic job of relaying a ton of emotions, even in the scenes with little to no dialogue. Between the great leads and the directing and cinematography, I just thought it was great.


Fog Tripper
Mar 3, 2008

by Smythe

I can see how many would not like this movie. I do not believe it is something that everyone is expected to get. Those who have had similar feelings, life experiences, and perhaps enough years under their belts (as I have at this point) will have it resonate.

This gets a solid 5/5 from me. I could watch it over and over again, only wishing I knew what Bill said at the very end. I take that back. The characters leave "satisfied" with what he said/decided, and that's good enough for me.


Pancakes by Mail
Oct 21, 2010

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Goaltender Carey Price was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

I really, really enjoyed this movie and I think it's an example of how a film can be great without much of a "plot" per se - it just takes two characters, fairly unexceptional people, and bounces them off each other over and over.

Murray gives a wonderful performance, and I think it's hard to call it overrated. He gives masterful examples of understated emotion, but it's never unclear what he's conveying. Scarlett Johansson, while not as good as Murray, also did a great job making her character interesting.

I honestly don't get the complaints calling SJ's character "whiny" - it's made fairly clear that she isn't getting anything out of the relationship, and that her husband seems to be taking her more or less for granted. She doesn't resent him, she just sees that she isn't needed by him.

"Nothing happens" is, I guess, a valid thing to say in a general way, but that doesn't detract from the quality of a movie. There isn't a storybook proceeding - this seems like something that could plausibly happen. The characters don't uproot themselves for a stranger they just met; they just sleepwalk through their lives, brush against each other for a happy instant, and then are removed from each other again.

The only complaint I have is that some of the "JAPAN!" jokes were a bit off, either by going on too long or just not being funny. It is necessary to the film to show that both Murray and Johansson feel alone and out of place, but it may have gone overboard. However I did appreciate reading a translation of what the whiskey commercial director said and finding out that it was totally reasonable and made perfect sense.

Regarding the final scene, it's unimportant exactly WHAT Murray says, even though everyone wishes they could hear it. What matters is the impact we see on Johansson's face, and we can see that what he said was more or less perfect.

Plus the cinematography and sense of setting was goddamn magical.


Pancakes by Mail fucked around with this message at 16:48 on Aug 17, 2012


Dec 14, 2004

Watching this movie and having it colored by someone saying "it's like, wow, life can have so many different experiences" I kept thinking: Why?

I don't like slice of life movies. They're all the same. This movie contains such a boring, dead, generic story. I can't imagine how dull, privileged and devoid of conflicts someone's life must be to watch this movie and feel like it really says something. Bored people travel to different Countries, meet a different culture on a very superficial level, and go to random people's houses do nothing interesting in particular. Wow, what an engaging, exciting life story. Jesus.

For how much I cannot relate to the plot and for how much there was no chemistry between the two leads, I actually think the rest of the execution was pretty okay. The two leads seem do their job well as individual characters. The actual parts related to linguistics were interesting and amused me. The cinematography is good. Much like Harrison Ford I can never say whether Bill Murray is phoning in and we're just getting his real life reaction or if it's his acting, but it's irrelevant because it matches the character pretty well.

So as far as slice of life movies go, and I hate them, this is probably on the high end. Parts of this movie amused me. If you like this sort of movie, you'll likely love this far more than I can.


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