Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Lost in Translation

Bill Murray fans may like this movie or may not. I think he was perfect in it. His odd-ball sense of humor came out touchingly in the way he looked and spoke to Scarlett Johansson in their scenes together. It was just them in a restaurant, on the steet without little else going on in the background, yet it was still entertaining and you wanted to hear every word.

If I would have seen this movie last year, I couldn't have related as much as I can now that I traveled to Barcelona this year and didn't know a lick of Spanish or Catalyan. Being alone in an environment you know is bad enough, but being alone in a foreign country is a new level of loneliness. You can't just start up a casual conversation with someone at a bar who speaks a different language, has a different sense of humor and who couldn't give two shits about you. And dealing with a language and custom barrier as vastly different as Japan, is difficult and frustrating, especially if you're there for a short time and don't have the ability to adapt to a comfort level with the place.

What I really liked about this movie is how real it felt. How real the characters were to me, like I could be these people. I remember loving Barcelona but toward the end of my 10 days, I just wanted to get home to the conveniences of America and what I was used to. I didn't want to have to point to food anymore and wonder what it was, or feel stupid that I couldn't ask for a sandwich. My experience wouldn't deter me to go abroad again, but knowing what I know, I'd be more prepared for the culture differences and language and obviously, bring a friend who speaks English.

Back to the movie: To fill the loneliness of being a 50-something, commercial actor, former movie star, who'd rather be doing a play, Murray meets Johansson, 20-something, who's married to a photographer working on a film. They begin exploring Toyko together. Some of the experiences are strange, and perhaps the strangest of them all, is the deep bond they form between them. For all of us who've been in traumatic experiences or have shared experiences that are out of the oridnary, bonds like this grow stronger, faster. Johannson is a newlywed already feeling ignored by her husband and bored in Japan. Murray has been married for 25-30 years with kids he rarely sees since he travels for work. Both use Tokoyo to escape their lives and create a world with just the two of them in it. And neither of them want to leave the Japan they've created for themselves. It takes two to create and carry an illusion.

It's a beautiful film not in the typical way. It's beautiful that this type of experience can be on screen for all of us to share so we know, none of us is really alone.

Definitely rent this.

Worth the money rating: $$$$$

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