Harsh critics of Lost In Translation: “What the fuck? Nothing happens in this movie!!!” LOST GIRLS & LOVE HOTELS: “Hold my beer.” This new movie, which was filmed back in 2017 but is finally getting distributed, wasn’t supposed to come to streaming platforms till 9/18. Apparently VUDU didn’t get that memo. To be fair, September 4th was its original release but I think it got delayed because it didn’t want to compete with Tenet, Mulan, New Mutants, & the beginning of The Boys Season 2 for your attention (even though you probably have no clue what this film even is), so they moved it to a date where nothing new comes into theaters. I’m guessing that VUDU didn’t change the film’s date…probably because who’s ever in charge with programming on the website, again, doesn’t even know what this fucking film is to care. It stars Baywatch’s, True Detective Season One Episode Two’s, and Percy’s Jackson’s Alexandra Daddario and if I had to describe it without any details of a plot it would be: Lost In Translation meets a softer core version of 50 Shades of Grey. And literally almost nothing happens in the movie. Well, stuff happens, but I didn’t get anything out of it like I did Lost In Translation. I ended up just buying this on VUDU really quick and watching it, because neither of my boss’s are here at work today (Labor Day weekend), and I’ve already done what I needed to get done work load wise. I bought instead of rented, because I had a $3 VUDU credit, and to own this was only $3 more than rental. Plus, I mean…Daddario does get nude in it (hardly though, lower your expectations), which is her first time since her um…debut…in True Detective Season One Episode Two. You know that scene. In fact, I’m calling it now: #ReleaseTheDaddarioDDCut, because this film is so choppy, meaning it’s editing is a bit much in some scenes, that it seems like all the sex parts were cut for content. Possibly at Daddario’s shy request? I doubt we will ever find out.
But let me get to the positives. First off, this movie isn’t terrible. Alexandra Daddario easily gives the best performance of her career in it. This is the first film I didn’t just see her as “Alexandra Daddario.” To me, that’s a huge accomplishment. In fact, all the acting is pretty damn decent. The film also has some gorgeous shots and cinematography. And some of the situational narrative elements work, but only some. And that’s pretty much it. If you are coming for a decent story to go along with the acting and imagery, look far far elsewhere. In terms of story…whoa…IMDB has a long summary for this, so I’m just going to use that because it would take me about three paragraphs to describe anything of value that happens in this movie and I’d end up just spoiling it: “Margaret (Alexandra Daddario) finds herself in the glittering labyrinth of Tokyo by night and as a respected English teacher of a Japanese flight attendant academy by day. With little life direction, Margaret searches for meaning with fellow ex-pats (Carice Van Houten) in a Japanese dive bar, drinking to remember to forget and losing herself in love hotel encounters with men who satisfy a fleeting craving. When Margaret crosses paths with a dashing Yakuza, Kazu (Takehiro Hira), she falls in love with him despite the danger and tradition that hinders their chances of being together. We follow Margaret through the dark and light of love and what it means to find oneself abroad with a youthful abandon. Helmed by award winning director William Olsson (Reliance), and written by Catherine Hanrahan, Adapted from her acclaimed novel; Lost Girls and Love Hotels.”
Has anyone even heard of this novel? I think its Canadian. I had no idea the author adapted the screenplay from her own book until I just looked it up, but even if she wasn’t, I can probably guarantee you the book is better, because it probably has more what’s and why’s of the inner turmoil of the main character. I felt her plight in this, but I wasn’t convinced by it, if that makes any sense. She just goes and has a lot of dark bondage sex with random Japanese men but I don’t feel that her depression is quite earned in this movie, she needed more of a backstory. We get some, but it’s fleeting and it doesn’t much explain why she does what she does. Unless I missed something. There is some narration at the beginning, parts of the middle, and end of the movie, and I feel as though the movie should’ve been either narrated completely throughout it, or we should’ve gotten a couple of flashbacks to fit more narrative pieces of the puzzle together. This isn’t supposed to be Tenet for God’s sake. Oh well look-e-here…doing some research on the novel, THERE ARE FLASHBACKS IN IT!!! And the flashbacks explain her depression and deep dives into the reasoning of her dark sides of life. WHY WEREN’T THESE INCLUDED IN THE MOVIE?!? Budget perhaps? Even so, if these scenes were filmed and cut…why? If they weren’t…WHY? This would’ve made me more emotionally invested in everything, the “plot,” the characters…I don’t understand what went wrong here. When this movie is officially released, I have a feeling a lot of other critics that watch this will have the same pros and cons as I. The movie is shot well, the acting is solid, the chemistry between Daddario and Takehiro Hira is solid as well, but the movie’s substance is very lacking, making it seem like not much takes place, except for one little minor scuffle at the end. I wanted to love this movie…but most of its structure was…pun intended…lost in translation for me.