My septuagenarian mother and I watched Lost in Translation yesterday afternoon. Somewhat to my surprise, she liked it, though she initially found Sofia Coppola’s elliptical style of storytelling a bit hard to follow. (Gen-X moviegoers suckled on MTV take jump cuts for granted, but most people born before 1950 or so are accustomed to films in which the plot elements are laid out fairly straightforwardly.) In addition, it hit me after about 10 minutes that she didn’t know what jet lag was, meaning that she couldn’t understand why Bill Murray didn’t just lie down and take a nap. Once I explained his problem, she was fine.
My mother said two things that stayed with me:
(1) She’d never heard of Scarlett Johannson. “At first I didn’t think she was very pretty,” she said, “but then I changed my mind. Isn’t her skin beautiful?”
(2) About two-thirds of the way through the film, she remarked, “They didn’t have to spend much time learning the dialogue, did they?”