Netflix is a fantastic place for independent cinema to find an audience. For just eight dollars a month, you have access to hundreds of films, many of which are independently produced and have a hard time finding a place in theaters.


One independent film that has been available on Netflix for some time is Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, this movie was produced for a mere $4 million and went on do to gross over $120 million worldwide at the box office and attract award season attention.


(Related – Film Director Profile: Sofia Coppola)


Set in the massive Japanese metropolis of Tokyo, “Lost in Translation” is a character study of an actor in the twilight of his career and the lonely wife of a successful photographer. Following a random encounter, the two develop a connection that ends up becoming something romantic.


The performances given by the two leads have been almost universally praised, especially Murray’s. He was nominated for an Academy Award, and this is often considered one of the best roles of his career. Johansson’s work is also impressive, with this proving early on that she could really be a movie star.


Indies are not often nominated for Oscars in the big categories, but “Lost in Translation” was an exception to that rule. Besides the Best Actor nomination, the film earned nods for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, the last of which was won by Coppola. These nominations are impressive in a year when “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Mystic River,” and “Seabiscuit” were released.


Some Best Picture nominees gain a lasting cult due to their nomination. For whatever reason, “Lost in Translation” has not been able to find its lasting audience. It certainly has its fan-base, but for the most part it has seemed to evaporate from the public’s consciousness. That is a real shame, because this one is a gem.
“Lost in Translation” is available on Netflix instant streaming.


Have you seen “Lost in Translation?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, and find me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.