October 24, 2003

Lost In Translation

I went to see Lost In Translation last night, then several Blue Moon Belgian Whites at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse.
Let's tackle these in reverse order: The CCC is a great place for drinks and food. It's an authentic sports bar, not one of these soulless franchises that feel as if they come from an assembly line: "GO _insert_local_team_name_here_!"
CCC is very small, with TVs everywhere, so you can see the game wherever you are sitting or standing. I was glad to be there on a travel day for The World Series. Like the rest of New England, I have been avoiding the Series. I am trying not to get too excited- How do New York fans get excited about a team which has been in 40% of all World Series since 1921, and won 72% of those? It's just depressing.
The Blue Moon Belgian was good- I just don't understand why bartenders try to put lemon in it. I only take citrus products in Corona beer, and that's strictly between Independence Day and Labor Day.

Lost In Translation was exactly what I expected, and all I'd hoped for. It's a small, inconsequential movie, and I don't mean either of those adjectives in a bad way. Writer/director Sofia Coppola has captured a small, specific niche of human existence and made a thoughtful, heartfelt feature film about it.

Past-peak movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and just-graduated, and just-married Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are stuck in Tokyo, and lost in their own lives. Bob knows what he wants to do with his life but doesn't know how, and Charlotte doesn't know what she wants and doesn't know what to do about it. Coppola very effectively uses this completely foreign city as a perfect metaphor for isolation and confusion. Bob and Charlotte both need a sympathetic presence in their lives for a few days, and Coppola describes and shows us this unique three-day relationship perfectly. There's no defining what they are for each other, and neither the characters nor Coppola try to. There is only the slightest hint of sexuality in their relationship (Johansson was born around the time Murray was getting slimed in Ghostbusters), and that hint is very tastefully done. A good ending is always important to me, and I appreciated the non-Hollywood resolution. (Loews Church St)