Part of one of the cinema’s most famous families, the Coppola’s, she had been brutalized by the critics for her performance in The Godfather Part III (1990), which in my world simply does not exist. Frankly she was not even the major problem with the film, thus I found the attacks on her to be downright cruel. However Francis’ little girl learned one thing from her famous father, do not let them get to you, follow the passion, find a good story.
After adapting The Virgin Suicides (1999) to critical acclaim, directing with a gentle subtle hand, something celebrated by the critics, Sofia Coppola went off, and inspired by the time she had spent in luxury hotels in Japan, wrote Lost in Translation (2003). She wrote the film with Bill Murray in mind, and after a nightmare of phone calls trying to reach the elusive, golf loving actor, they connected, and he was in. Little did Murray realize he had accepted the role of his career, the part that would bring him his first and to this day only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor?
Scarlett Johannson was cast as Charlotte, the young bride who believes she might have married the wrong man, a hot shot photographer who leaves her alone to fend for herself in the massive city. It is within the hotel that she meets Murray’s character, a famous actor on the down slope of his career, in Japan to shoot a TV commercial for a famous whiskey. They connect, never sexually, though it could go that way, the chemistry is that powerful, but when I say connect, I mean on a deeper level than anything physical. These two are soul mates who cannot be together because of their ties to other people. There is no doubt in my mind they fall in love over the couple of days they are together, but the relationship remains chaste, and something he whispers into her ear as he is leaving is left to our imagination. I like to think he told her she was his soul mate, he loved her more than life, but they could not be together, for so many reasons, but she reminded him of what it felt like to be in love again, to be alive again. Anything beyond their days in Japan would be a disappointment.
That is what I like to think. The use of the song “More Than This” tells me a great deal about their relationship.
I emerged from the theater knowing Sofia Coppola was about to be the most talked about young filmmaker in the movies, no one would ever throw The Godfather Part III (1990) again, she might be another Coppola to win an Oscar, and sure enough that came to pass. She won the Academy Award for her original screenplay, was nominated for Best Director, the first American woman to earn such a nod, her film was up for Best Picture and Bill Murray was nominated as Best Actor. In addition, Murray won the New York Film Critics Award as Best Actor, Coppola took the critics award as Best Director over Peter Jackson for his massive The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) no less! The film was the most discussed film of the 2003 festival, and Miss Coppola became the most talked about director in America.
You could feel it happening during the screening, the movie was just so incredibly strong. Lyrical, almost a tone poem, spectacularly well acted by Murray and Johansson, it was simply a pleasure watching it for the first, second and third times.
Tags: American film directors, Bill Murray, Director, Francis Ford Coppola, Lost in Translation, Oscar, Paramount films, Peter Jackson, Picture, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Coppola, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the New York Film Critics Award
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