Last night I convinced the Snook to come to an advance screening of Lost in Translation with me. He was reluctant at first. (I think he was a little worried it was going to be a girly movie.) Within five minutes he was loving it just as much as I knew he would. The opening shots of Tokyo are just mesmerizing. I just kept thinking, “It looks like a William Gibson novel!” The Snook said he was mentally comparing everything to anime films. We laughed when we recognized some of the more bewildering video games from the George Street arcade in Sydney. He squeezed my hand when a giant EPSON billboard floated past. We laughed at Bill Murray’s fish-out-of-water routine. It was all very amusing.
Then it changed. It changed for me when Bob Harris agreed to go out with Charlotte’s friends. It was at once unbelievable – that a fifty-year-old guy would go out with these young people – and totally understandable, because it was the first “real” thing this guy’d done in a long time. By that point, I realized I actually cared about the characters. I kept worrying that they’d show Bob standing in the corner by himself. I was worried that Charlotte would be embarrassed by him. Instead they sang karaoke and danced and talked to strangers and had a great time. They became friends. So then I was hooked. I wanted them to get together – because neither of them seemed to have anything else – but I also wanted them to resist that cliché. In the end I was totally satisfied with the resolution. I agree with Ebert that the words they exchange at the end of the film are none of our business. When two actors create characters so real, sometimes you have to grant them their privacy.