Since making her feature directorial debut in 1998 with 'The Virgin Suicides,' Sofia Coppola has gone through an interesting if decidedly uneven career trajectory. Her follow-up to 'Suicides,' 'Lost in Translation,' was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, and established her as a considerable talent – one perhaps on par with her famous father, Francis Ford Coppola. Since then, however, she experienced a critical drubbing for 'Marie Antoinette,' a lush but largely aimless biopic of the French queen (which I confess I liked), and has thus far received only mixed praise for its follow-up, 'Somewhere,' which is being released this Friday.
Having recently seen 'Somewhere,' I didn't respond strongly to its understated portrait of a movie star coming to terms with his empty, decadent lifestyle. But the film's quiet ambiguity and its lackadaisical approach to storytelling made me wonder whether Coppola's filmmaking style still remained relevant, or if her earlier success was as much a byproduct of the time in which her films were released as their own technical merits. As such, I elected to return to her biggest career triumph, 'Lost in Translation,' for this week's "Shelf Life."