Stephen Georg’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is such a great example of a film with a skewed audience. We watched this for Movie Club after I added it to my list, simply because "it's supposed to be good". And it was very, very good—depending on who you ask.
Lost in Translation is one of the most real films I've ever seen. That was something everyone watching experienced. But our interpretation and appreciation of that varied wildly: Mal was unsatisfied with the ending, Lindsey thought it was very average, Dan thought it should've been a short. For whatever reason, I connected with the film on an entirely different level.
We all agreed that the film felt real—at times it was almost as if I was watching a half-narrative half-documentary. The story is believable, and the protagonists (Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson) perfectly performed their roles.
But what I appreciated as authentic was seen as somewhat boring by the rest of the group. And to be fair: I get it! They compared it to "watching a really long vlog", which is a reasonable comparison.
Bill Murray is famous American movie star Bob Harris, who has just landed in Tokyo to shoot an advertising campaign for a Japanese whiskey (I got a huge "Tommy Lee Jones doing Boss Coffee commercials" vibe). He hates the work, but it pays well. When he's not working, he's drinking in the hotel bar.
Scarlett plays Charlotte, a young American woman in Japan with her recent husband. He's there on business, doing photography. She spends most of her days in the hotel room, but occasionally slips into the hotel bar.
They meet. And the film tells a beautiful story of love, relationships, and commitment—while meeting certain expectations but also shattering expected cliches.
A little ways into the movie, they leave the hotel together, and the tone changes immediately. It becomes almost ethereal, and other-worldly. The only other movie I can recall gave me similar feelings was Eternal Sunshine.
Despite what Mal thought, I adored the ending, and the events that lead up to it. Everything lent itself to the realism that had been planted through the subtle humor and laid-back attitudes of the main characters. This is not your typical romance film, and it thankfully wasn't treated as such.
I'm extremely glad our group had such opposing views to this film, and I hope to have more in the future! It made discussion a lot more fun, and I'm always interested to see particular points of enjoyment or frustration from them, especially when they don't align with my own. Everyone's opinions are valid.
So would I recommend Lost in Translation? Yes. Will you enjoy it? Hard to say.
But I think it's worth trying.