February 18, 2014 by Craig Sutherland
After seeing Spike Jonze’s incredible film Her this week I couldn’t help but think that I might have seen the other side of this story before…
Her (2013) is also a tale of loneliness and melancholia set in a 2025 in a city that smack of a LA/Tokyo hybrid also starring Scarlett Johansson(‘s Voice) directed by the wonderful Spike Jones.
Lets rewind a touch… Spike Jonze & Sofia Coppola were married on 26th June 1999, they divorced on December 5, 2003, the couple filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
In 1999 Sofia released her feature debut The Virgin Suicides to rave reviews while Spike put out the quirky Being John Malkovich. Sofia has said that she spent some time in Tokyo while working on The Virgin Suicides so guess it’s not a stretch to assume Spike was there with her for periods.”Interviewer: There are so many elements in Lost in Translation that seem, well frankly, autobiographical…true? Sofia: It came from all my trips to Japan and to that actual hotel- the different experiences. I went there for Virgin Suicides and stuff – so it definitely came from just kind of my observations of Tokyo…and yeah, there’s definitely parts I relate to in both the Bill Murray character and Scarlett Johansson’s character.” (Via Bluntreview.com)
Charlotte (Johansson, Lost In Translation) has a work-a-holic photographer other-half who she believes has more interest in his subjects that he does her. In real life Jonze worked as a photographer Freestylin’ Magazine in the mid-to late 1980s.
Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix, Her) is a 30-something professional who is lonely and insecure after the demise of his marriage and impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart other-half. Once Twombly feels like he can move on and agree to the divorce that has been hanging over his head he apologizes to his estranged wife, is this Jonze apologizing to Coppola for focusing on his work rather than her.
The parallels are there even if they are unintended, Johansson as the love interest in both films, John (Charlotte’s partner in Lost In Translation) is a photographer, so was Jonze for a while, the cityscapes, in Her Twombly & his estranged wife ‘Grew up’ together and inspired each other, like, I imagine Jonze & Coppola might have after they met in 1992.
Even if the similarities are unintended these films will be forever entwined because of their close, personal connection to the director/writers.