"I don't get that close to the glass until I'm on the floor."
The story of a stranger in a strange land is not a new concept, regardless of the talented eye of the filmmaker. Conceptually, the idea of a lost soul in a foreign environment is a tried and true tool that allows the filmmaker to invite the audience into a new world, leaving them engulfed in chaos, and thus, vulnerable to all the horror and beauty that life can throw at them. Under this specific circumstance our characters can encounter one another in an honest and open state of mind and heart.
When I first encountered LOST IN TRANSLATION, I didn't make any more of it. It felt like a director with a powerful visual eye's excuse to shoot gorgeous visual images and not much else. As a bonafide adult, I have come to appreciate the people that inhabit htat crazy and vivid world. The idea that two people can look at one another and see themselves through a window of such fear and respect is incredibly captivating. On the surface this is the story of a May-December romance. When you look a little deeper, something much more important takes place.
In truth, it's about a man that sees the promise in a young person's future, and a girl who reveres the successes of an older man. Or, is it the story of a lonely older man who falls for a girl he feels he can mentor, and a bored newlywed who thinks she can save the soul of a lost celebrity? Maybe it's the story of two people who should be together, but are just barely too young/old to have the kind of relationship they deserve with each other.
College Mac saw this as a flaw. I deemed it a film by a self-indulgent director who was afraid to make a true statement with her film, and fell back on arthouse techniques to dazzle critics. Now I see an honest story that lives in the same ambiguous moral and emotional gray areas that we all live in at some point in life. Those quiet moments where nothing is said not only help saturate the main characters with a potent sense of isolation, but in truth, no dialogue could have accomplished what the actors were able to convey in silence. With this technique, the greatest positives of the films live in the negatives. I walked away from today's viewing wanting to label the experience just as alittle as I want to know what Bill Murray whispered in Scarlett Johansson's ear. The meanings of both will live only in my mind, where they belong.