For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

Just finished watching Lost in Translation. The plot doesn’t really have much substance – two complete strangers in a foreign country (Japan), drawn together by their common loss of direction in life. One, a 50-year old actor passed his prime and going through a mid-life crisis. The other, a young woman and recent Yale alumnus, who just married a celebrity photographer, and now doesn’t know what to do with her life. Not really a premise that you’d think would last an hour and forty minutes, especially considering how little dialogue there is.

The cinematography is amazing though. I’m not really one for the scenery of densely populated big cities, with their big neon signs and electronic bilboards, like Times Square in New York, and downtown Hong Kong and Japan. But Sofia Coppola and Lance Acord make it work. The whole movie seems to have this soft glow to it, kind of like the whole thing has been passed through some sort of Photoshop soften filter. I also like their use of reflections and mirrors, which seem to be a common theme throughout the film.

The pace and soundtrack of the entire feature are also very well executed. Given the aforementioned thin plot and lack of dialogue, there’s never any point in the movie where I sat impatiently waiting for it to move on to the next scene. Kudos to Coppola for that, seeing as this is just her sophomore picture, she must have picked up a thing or two from her father. Or maybe it was just all done in post-production, you can never tell these days.

Among the bits of dialogue there are some real gems though. I think my favourite scene is when they’re lying on the bed. The best bits of dialogue go something like this (the italic parts are what really stuck out in my mind):

Charlotte and Bob, at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

Charlotte: I’m stuck. Does it get easier?
Bob: No.
Bob: Yes. It gets easier. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.

Charlotte: What about marriage, does that get easier?
Bob: That’s hard.
Bob: We used to have a lot of fun. Lydia would come with me when I would make the movies, and we would laugh about it all. Now she doesn’t want to leave the kids. She doesn’t need me to be there. The kids miss me, but they’re fine. It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.
Bob: It’s the most terrifying day of your life the day your first one is born. Your life, as you know it, is gone. Never to return.


  1. Terry says:

    hey dave, i gotta disagree on that best scene.. the best scene had to be the one with the over-the-top director passionately describing his vision of the commerical and then smiling and saying:

    “Suntory Time!”

    hilarious beyond belief.

  2. Dave says:

    Heh, most of that scene was lost on me seeing as I don’t understand Japanese. It only had slapstick value for me, and even then it was already kind of cliché when they did it once. Twice was just overboard.

    Does the director actually say something coherent?