DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola
This is a gentle, sincere and mature exploration of loneliness, overtly about being lost in a strange city but really about being lost in yourself.
Following Bill Murray’s fading actor who spends way too much time away from his family, Bob Harris is visiting Tokyo to promote a brand of Whiskey, and Scarlett Johansson is a young wife to an up and coming photographer, a philosophy graduate who is still waiting to begin a career… in something.
The pair meet up in their shared hotel bar and strike up an innocent, yet simmering romance which is skillfully handled by Coppola.
This is a tender, natural and genuine relationship between two lonely people, both needing more from their respective relationships than they are getting, whilst finding something of solace in each other, even it is just fleeting.
The ending, something in which many romances flounder, is handled perfectly, not with high drama but with bitter sweet tenderness which leaves us with a resigned understanding of their respective situations.
No easy answers but a sense that the pair have shared something real but not destructive.
And then there is Tokyo, the setting for this drama. All I can say is if Tokyo is half the city which is portrayed here, then I am moving!
The town is vibrant, fun and interesting. Shown here as a technological marvel, embracing the future whilst revelling in its retro charm.
Produced back in 2003 and winning best screenplay at the 2004 Oscars, Sofia Coppola’s tale is a triumph and one which has been on my watch list for way too long.
A real hidden gem, for me at least.