Their (Murray/Johansson) brief, wondrous encounter is the soul of this subtle, funny, melancholy film.
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Not much happens, but Coppola is so gentle and witty an observer that the movie casts a spell. [15 September 2003, p. 100]
The film's unhurried pace will target it for discerning audiences only, but its wry humor and coolly amused observation of contemporary Japan should score with smart urbanites.
As bittersweet a brief encounter as any in American movies since Richard Linklater's equally romantic "Before Sunrise."
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.
Dislocated from their native country and former lives, Bob and Charlotte come to establish a language of their own. Coppola has done the same, proving she boasts one of today's truly distinct filmmaking voices.
Gorgeously shot by Lance Acord, who makes Toyko a gaudy dreamscape that's both seductive and frightening, Lost In Translation washes away memories of "Godfather III," establishing Coppola as a major filmmaker in her own right, and reconfirming Johansson and Murray as actors of startling depth and power.
Coppola both wrote and directed, and theres a pleasing shapelessness to her scenes. She accomplishes the difficult feat of showing people being bored out of their skulls in such a way that we are never bored watching them.
Don't stall about seeing Sofia Coppola's altogether remarkable Lost in Translation. It's a class-act liftoff for the fall movie season. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson give performances that will be talked about for years.
Watch Murray's eyes in the climactic scene in the hotel lobby: while hardly moving, they express the collapsing of all hopes, the return to a sleepwalking status quo. You won't find a subtler, funnier or more poignant performance this year than this quietly astonishing turn.