Sofia Coppola's Oscar-winning second movie, released in 2006, is a masterclass in quiet, delightful comic romance. Movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) arrives in Tokyo to shoot a Suntory whisky commercial: a project that intensifies his self-loathing in a city that amplifies his alienation.
Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) is staying at the same hotel while her photographer husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) abandons her for his latest assignment, shooting a hot new starlet. Staking out the hotel bar - a magnet for bored insomniacs - Bob and Charlotte meet, talk and begin to explore Tokyo together. With Harris's wife distant and Charlotte's husband inattentive, their relationship deepens...
The Virgin Suicides showed Coppola to be shrewd, character-driven filmmaker in the mould of her father. While her second movie also echoes daddy - he shot a Suntory whisky ad in the 70s - it contains enough depth to let her escape his shadow.
Murray, who has no agent, fields film offers via voicemail. Coppola besieged him, he relented and the result is one of his most affecting performances, giving Bob Harris an awkward nobility when he could so easily have been a dirty old man. While Charlotte's pampered lifestyle does not conjure instant sympathy, Johansson (in her breakthrough role) gives her strength and sharpness.
Small wonder she hit Woody Allen's radar, working for him in Match Point and then Scoop. Coppola took home an Oscar for her screenplay, the sole success from four nominations.