365 Days Later

The Other of Invention

Lost in Translation defined the Sudafed-and-Johnny Walker mind-set of 21st-century road warriors—jet lag as Ecstasy; regret, longing, and desire as woozy narcotics. RAY PRIDE

Just because Sofia Coppola is rich, lucky, and connected doesn't mean she can't do it. TERRI SUTTON

I get why straight, middle-aged male critics were flattered by Lost in Translation, but what's everyone else's excuse? Sofia Coppola's inventory of cool—the most expensive Marc Jacobs campaign ever—valorizes the hipster who thinks she's smarter and more "real" than all the other hipsters. This precious universe would collapse from its narcissism were it not for Murray, a neighing Helmut Lang clotheshorse. NATHAN LEE

Lost in Translation is practically a sister to Friday Night, but where Claire Denis describes a city she knows and loves, Coppola chooses one she doesn't know very well and finds amusingly weird. It's a hip version of Ugly American bluster. Please lip Coppola's stockings. STEVE ERICKSON

As a love story, Lost in Translation seems solipsistic and insensitive; as an exploration of willful, conditioned, and even unintentional misreading (translating) by its American characters, it's both less and more disturbing. CYNTHIA FUCHS

Sofia seems to be the Teflon Director. First nobody can ask her about her father, ever; then nobody can ask her about her husband; then there's also the (false) consensus that the film was a gas to make and Bill Murray was the nicest guy in the world. And this in an age of tabloid journalism. MARK PERANSON

Translation's ugly swipes at them wacky Japanese (not to mention pea-brained American starlets) can be read as a defensive hitting-out, an extremely adolescent mode of cocooning: shut in my room 'cos nobody speaks my language—nobody gets me—but you. The teen spirit of romanticized alienation soon grates because the film reads most convincingly as autobiographical juvenilia. And yet, even Bryan Ferry himself could not have conjured the plangent rhapsody of Mr. Murray singing karaoke "More Than This." Delayed adolescence is largely ridiculous, as is Lost in Translation, but what about the ridiculous sublime? JESSICA WINTER


 
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