I really, really love this movie. I love the cinematography. I love the writing. I love the soundtrack. I love how it makes me fall in love with Tokyo (I've never been, but I love it.) I love Bill Murray. I love Scarlett Johansson (she crushes it as an action star now, but the vulnerable indie-girl is what college-me will always remember.) But really, what I love most about the film is that they don't end up together at the end. I can't help it. Maybe I'm jaded, but my favorite love stories are the ones ending with the love interests going their separate ways.
And I'll tell you -- it's the hardest thing to pull off while satisfying your audience. There needs to me that moment at the end -- the moment that assures us that while these two aren't riding happily ever after into the sunset, they're still better off for having met each other.
This beautiful (mostly improvised) goodbye between Murray and Johansson is something I can watch over and over again. Every beat, every breath they take, every lock of the eyes, it's all fucking LOADED. These two Americans, standing out like sore thumbs, yet still completely invisible in a sea of Japanese people, savoring their very last moment. I've been there in my personal life and I'll tell ya, it's heart-wrenching.
Then, the whisper. That fucking whisper, man. I remember the first time I saw it, I turned up the volume on my TV all the way, trying to catch it. But it's not meant for us. Sofia Coppola wisely refrains from serenading this moment with music… till Johansson brilliantly takes that line, “Bye”… beat, Murray takes a few steps, turns back, and we hear the first “Bum, bum-bum, CHHH” of “Just Like Honey” by the Jesus and Mary Chain as he sneaks one last look at her.
That's how you Mariano Rivera, nine-pitch-strike-out-the-side-to-end-the-World-Series, close out a love story.
The only audible lines in the entire scene: "Hey you." "Okay." "Bye." "Alright." And look how much happens?!?
Coppola closes the film with a quick montage of what is essentially the third major character: Tokyo.
I fucking love this movie.