But, that was just my problem with the actors, the story is another…well…story. . It is also just a shade over 90 minutes long, making it quite short in comparison to typical movies of today. Charlotte and Bob spend their nights together, fighting insomnia, running from one club or party to another. But even when when Charlotte and Bob’s adventure begins it is quite apparent they are still not truly happy. Does that mean this is a manifesto movie? No. But it does mean that it manifests a sensibility you rarely see on the screen. I don’t even think of it as an art movie.
The film is a string of vignettes, without much in the way of a narrative line, and the story loses momentum in the last half-hour. Many lonely scenes penetrate the viewer. Bob goes to the swimming pool at the hotel. On one occasion, a water aerobics class is taking place on the other half of the pool, while Bob is solitary on the other side, swimming laps. This is either going to bore you to tears or you find the symbolism moving. I found myself to be quite bored. The long, quiet scenes can lull the very tired into a coma. Sometimes when a film confuses some members of the audience, it’s because the director has failed to get a point or a mood across. One thing I will give praise to is the setting itself. The scenes of Japan are breathtaking, making a totally foreign place seem as real as the chair in which we sit. The film makes fun of the weird things that the Japanese do, but it also makes fun of the weird things Americans do in a foreign country.
Lost In Translation brought forth a beautiful series of human emotional truths but it is just too bad the pacing dragged to the point where I almost lost all emotional ties with the characters. I would like to say this is a terrible oversight, but it is such a blatant omission that it really made me feel like turning off the film at times and giving up. I tried to admire the gentleness with which the two leads interacted but some scenes were so sporadically free to just explore their own destinations that I felt like labelling this movie as a boring cinematic experience that builds very slowly to a soft anticlimax. Not excellent perhaps, but at least very good, I have to sum it up as a bittersweet experience. It is something you either agree with or you do not. It’d be useless to try to convince people otherwise. For now, Sofia Coppola is a breath of fresh air in the film industry. I hope she can keep it up, but turns up the heat on her next film.