Lost in Translation

I saw Lost in Translation with a few friends this afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film ever since I heard about it months ago, and my expectations reached soaring heights as it received universally positive reviews. I was a little worried, consequently, that even a great film would turn out to be a disappointment. Luckily, I loved the film.

Lost in Translation is a melancholy and touchingly funny film set in Toyko between two Americans who happen to be staying in the same hotel. I would hesitate to call it a love story, because while it arguably is one, the term summons up so many inaccurate connotations that it’s hardly useful in this respect. I’ve heard it described as a ‘Brief Encounter’ for the 21st century, which sounds about right despite the fact that I haven’t seen ‘Brief Encounter’.

Not all of my friends liked the film. Two of them were ambivalent, one liked it and another loved it. Perhaps I was in the right mood, or I was more forgiving of its occasional mistakes, but I fell in love with it – the characters, the setting, the cinematography, the music – everything. Scarlett Johansson is beautiful, and conveys her character’s uncertainty and sadness perfectly, while Bill Murray is funny as usual, but pulls off being a ‘normal’ person just as well. As always, I would urge you all to watch it.

Lost in Translation is not a normal love story or romantic comedy. If you watch it expecting to see the usual checkpoints and formulas (enjoyable though they may be), you will just end up becoming frustrated and annoyed. If you watch it as if you were watching two real people, in a real place, then perhaps you might come out feeling more fulfilled.

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