Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Lost in Translation

Film #88


A fading movie star with a sense of emptiness, and a neglected young wife meet as strangers in Tokyo and form an unlikely bond.

Year 1, Day 87

BEFORE: I’m very excited to see today’s film, Lost in Translation because I’ve heard many positive and negative things about it so I’m not sure how it will turn out.

AFTER: Lost in Translation is very modest. There is no big action or even a lot of drama. It is a very quiet and reserved film, passively making commentary about events that can happen in our lives. The most obvious commentary is on the gap between different languages and cultures and what can be lost in translation (no pun intended). One of the best scenes in the film is early on in the film when Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is shooting the Suntory whiskey commercial. The director gives long and detailed direction to Harris which the translator repeats in short phrases like, “Turn right, and more intensity.” Harris does not believe that’s all the director says and even asks the translator who responds with the same, “That’s it. Turn right, and more intensity!”

It’s entertaining and refreshing in a way to watch these characters unfold. And it really is about the characters and not the story. When I said there was no drama I wasn’t kidding; there really isn’t much plot going on. For a while, it’s intriguing and you want to keep watching to see what will happen to these characters next. But that interest slowly fades away as the film progresses. No longer is it fresh and original; it’s boring and repetitive. There isn’t the same energy you fell towards the characters in the beginning.

Perhaps it’s because there isn’t a real story, or perhaps it’s because the characters really aren’t that interesting. I’m not sure which it is. What I do know is it was still fun to watch and despite my criticism, it’s worth it to at least give the film a chance.

RATING: 3 out of 5