View Full Version : An amazing film.

09-18-2003, 07:54 PM
Sofia Coppola's tale of friendship and loneliness is a near pitch-perfect film and the best I've seen so far this year. It's also Bill Murray's best performance. He is nothing short of amazing playing a has-been actor with whom the Japanese are still infatuated.

The story takes place over a week period in Tokyo as we are introduced to Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte, played with much maturity by Scarlet Johannson. They are both stuck in a culture they don't understand and marriages they aren't sure are working anymore. Charlotte's husband (Giovanni Ribisi) is a photographer who is always on a shot and leaves her in the hotel to fend for herself.

She wanders around Tokyo and Bob keeps himself in the hotel bar where Charlotte finally bumps into him and a friendship is slowly developed. This friendship saves them from the aching loneliness visually displayed by Sofia in long, beautiful shots of Johannson sitting in the hotel window looking out over the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo and Murray trying to find anything on Japanese television he can connect with.

Don't get me wrong. This is not a downer movie. It is one of such various and vast emotions that I'm surprised Sofia fits them in to one little movie. There are moments of great laughter and joviality such as the "gift" that is sent to Bob's room. But even when Charlotte and Bob's adventure begins it is quite apparent they are still not truly happy especially when they end up at a Karaoke bar and you get to see Murray's character singing Roxy Music's heart-breaking "More Than This".

Some people may find the slight fun poking at the Japanese a little too much, but it's meant to show just how different their culture and ours are so different. A few scenes are down right gut-busting and others just drive the character's actions as they try to something to hold on to they can identify with. It's an amazing cornucopia of events and emotions.

Most of which haunted me for days after seeing the film and made me think of the brief, albeit intense friendships I've had in my life. I also loved that Sofia seemed to have learned from Asian film and wasn't afraid to allow the film to have its quiet, introspective moments like In The Mood For Love, The Road Home and Spirited Away.

I found out, too, that Sofia went to Tokyo many times with her father, Francis Ford Coppola (you may have heard of him), and I wonder if the story is somewhat autobiographical. Did she met a has-been actor when she was left behind in the hotel room as her father went off to do some film work? Either way, Sofia has made a small masterpiece that proves that she did indeed get the filmmaker gene.

01-13-2004, 09:17 PM
Definitely going to rent it on DVD in February. Too bad I didn't get the chance to check it out in theaters.