September 12, 2003
This is a crush movie. And somewhere around halfway through watching it, I got an incredible crush on the actual movie – every time I've seen it since, I've had a little date with myself.
This is certainly one of the year's best movies. One thing I especially admired was the way Bill Murray dials down his gift for comedy, and finds just the right tired and subdued note. Any comedian can be really funny, but it takes a certain genius to be just a little funny kind of quietly funny, kind of wearily funny.
This is the director's film. She has all the chops, what a haunting movie, great performances, great eye for detail.
Sofia Coppola's second film establishes her as a director with an assured, unique vision. She draws from Bill Murray one of the best performances of his career; he's heartbreaking as an aging actor stuck doing whiskey ads in Tokyo. Scarlett Johansson continues to prove she's an actress with maturity and wisdom beyond her years.
A smart, terrific new comedy with a surprisingly urgent emotional core! Delicate and electrifying! Chief among the pleasures is a great, understated performance by Bill Murray.
That someone as young as writer-director Sofia Coppola could produce something as sophisticated and knowing as Lost in Translation was almost as baffling as Bill Murray's performance. As a combination of Buster Keaton and John Gielgud, Murray made us realize, even as the movie was unspooling, what a strange, lofty place he holds in the collective consciousness of movie-going America.
Little (else) about this beautiful movie is standard, let alone predictable. Ms. Johansson makes acting look easy. Her instincts are sure and her spirit is sweet in this lovely portrait of a young woman whose vivid passion and intelligence have had nowhere to light. As for Mr. Murray, he gives the best performance of his career, but that doesn't begin to describe the mysterious grace or complexity of the tragicomic character he creates.
Sofia Coppola's ravishing Lost in Translation. Charlotte…played, with heart-melting moodiness, by Scarlett Johansson. Mr. Murray's subtle, aching, witty performance in Lost in Translation, which opened on Friday, is certainly a revelation – and murmurs about an Oscar nomination have already begun. But it is hardly the first in his long and varied career. Wow, you think, this guy is an amazing actor, but such expressions of amazement have been bubbling up, with increasing frequency, for 20 years.
Lost in Translation, which she (Sofia Coppola) wrote and directed, may well be the best movie of the year. Few other filmmakers have as deft a way with atmosphere or as clear a notion of how it can be used to enrich a story. No other filmmaker has as piercing a sense of youthful despair.