In 2003, I was excited to see one film over all others. Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation had
been building steam while making its way through the festival circuit and was
finally going to be unveiled at the Toronto International Film Festival. Needless to say, it was a hot ticket, but I
was fortunate enough to get my hands on a couple of them. I loved The Virgin Suicides and was
anticipating Coppola’s follow-up. When
the house lights dimmed, I was ecstatic.
When they pulled me out of the dark… all I could think was, “Is that it”?
It happens to all of us.
We see a highly anticipated film that just sort of… fades away from
memory. We write it off, until we
realize that it’s become far more popular than we anticipated.
With Lost in Translation, I had trouble understanding why
it was receiving such glowing reviews.
To me, it was slow and prodding, with uninteresting characters that
barely developed. The film’s saving
grace was its beautiful cinematography, which by the film’s end, almost overstayed
its welcome. If anything, I was
interested more in Giovanni Ribisi and Anna Faris’ characters rather than the
hum-drum leads in the form of Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson.
After I left the screening, dumbfounded by what I had just
seen, I followed the films triumphant rise in popularity that lead to the
Academy Awards, where it was nominated for a whole slew of awards. I remember thinking that I would have been a
monumental mistake if Murray won for best actor. Why?
If the Academy didn’t acknowledge his wonderful work in Rushmore
(still the best Murray performance), then he definitely didn’t deserve it for
this one. The real surprise, though, was
Coppola winning the Best Screenplay award.
Apparently this heavily improvised and lackluster tale had grown to
become the best screenplay the year had to offer. I was in shock. Did I miss something?
Now, six years later, I’m starting to think maybe I
did. Maybe Coppola hit a nerve that I
wasn’t (and probably still am not) ready to confront. I have to stress that I don’t think Lost in
Translation is a bad film; it’s just one that I feel failed to connect with me
on almost every level. But that’s the
magic of the movies. What is one man’s
trash, may be another man’s treasure.
But lately I’ve started to think that I should give Coppola’s
film another chance. Maybe the
anticipation for the film absolutely killed it for me from the start. Maybe it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Whatever the case, I’m sure I’ll give Lost
in Translation another viewing in the very near future. Who knows?
Maybe I’ll fall in love with it.
Or maybe I’ll dislike it even more than I did before. If that’s the case, at least I gave it