Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA/Japan, 2003. Focus Features, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, American Zoetrope, Elemental Films. Screenplay by Sofia Coppola. Cinematography by Lance Acord. Produced by Sofia Coppola, Ross Katz. Music by Kevin Shields. Production Design by K.K. Barrett, Anne Ross. Costume Design by Nancy Steiner. Film Editing by Sarah Flack. Academy Awards 2003. Golden Globe Awards 2003. Independent Spirit Awards 2003. Toronto International Film Festival 2003.
The subtle charms of this excellent romantic drama are the kind you generally expect from European cinema. Sofia Coppola has made a stunning sophomore directorial effort, a beautifully shot story about two strangers who find each other in the most desolate of circumstances: they are both stranded in a Tokyo hotel. Bill Murray plays an aging movie star who has come to the city to film a whiskey ad that will pay him millions of dollars. Scarlett Johansson plays the wife of a photographer (Giovanni Ribisi) who lounges in the hotel while her husband goes off to work. Through chance encounters in bars and elevators, the two strangers overcome their culture shock and loneliness by becoming friends and going out to paint the town red. Shades of Nelly And Monsieur Arnaud abound as this perfectly natural relationship unfolds before you, and you’ll be grateful for the experience.