I only recently watched ‘Lost In Translation- – it was one of those movies that eluded me all these years for whatever reason, and I loved it – it still translated well after all these years, and I like its take on the symphony of solitude and loneliness. Maybe I should have waited before seeing Sofia Coppolla’s latest, ‘On The Rocks.’ I was underwhelmed by it, and now wonder if I should have waited for it to be marinated a bit. In a lot of ways, the film also wallows in melancholy and longing, but felt a little more unsuccessfully this time around.
For sure, I get that Coppolla employed a style that’s on the minimal side. But it took me a while to get in the groove of things, and I do appreciate its form, but a little more ‘story’ would have been nice. The film is of the ‘slice of life’ variety, but I felt the slice is on the thin side, and with a big hollow middle. Visually, the film is marvelous – a New York City you could dream of with a jazz score that’s right up my alley – Chet Baker, Bemelmann’s Bar, the city lit with night lights – it’s a world you will want to live in.
The performances, though. Bill Murray is great here, and in most of the scenes he is on, steals the movie. He brings the energy to the film when it needs it the most, and his presence is never overbearing (where it sometimes can be) I heard the filmmakers are making a play for him n ‘Supporting,’ but in my opinion his role here is more Lead. Rashida Jones shows her limitations here, and in some scenes where I want to see depth, I just see blank space.
I wish I liked it more. As I wrote earlier, maybe it need to simmer more for me to enjoy.
‘Lost in Transaltion’ came out in 2003 and for the life of me I cannot understand why I never saw the film, I mean, it sounds like a film that I would love. I look back to my life in 2003 and ask myself why. I made a mental note to see it then but after all these years, I never have. Until now. I finally finally saw it, and…
Well, I love the film. But the most curious thing is that it took me a while to get into its groove. I know it’s a film that takes its time, but I did not have a problem with that. I think that this is one of those films that in order for one to enjoy, one has to be in a certain mood. You have to be in a certain frame of mind, you have to be able to accept it. You have to be in touch with loneliness.
And I’m no stranger to loneliness. It’s a constant feeling for me, and this film mirrors that feeling perfectly. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are two ships that pass in a night, and in this case, they pass a couple of nights, knowing full well that they will leave each other after a certain time. Maybe it’s just as well that I am seeing this film now, would a younger me understand it? I vacillate on Johansson’s work, as I think she is more method than natural when it comes to acting style, but she is great here. I felt in her eyes her loneliness, and I even think this the best performance I have seen of Murray – I am not going to say I am most familiar with his output but his mostly comedic roles have not impressed me.
Lastly, I can’t stop thinking of the Leonard Bernstein song ‘Lonely Town’ as I think about this film.
A Town’s A Lonely Town
When You Pass Through
And There Is No One Waiting There For You