Title: Lost in Translation

Text Type: Film

Directed and written by Sophia Coppola

Released: 5th February 2004


Charlotte, played by Scarlett Johansson, and a recent graduate of philosophy and newly married, follow her photographer husband to Tokyo on his business trip. At the same hotel that Charlotte stays at, Bob, played by Bill Murray, a faded movie star, stuck in a loveless marriage, arrives in Tokyo to film an ad for whiskey. Charlotte and Bob are thrown into a world of unknown – they are isolated, searching and lost, without the ability to understand their new surrounding. Alone and alienated in an environment far from what they know, it becomes apparent that something is missing from their lives as the film progresses.


Lost In Translation explores the theme of being lost and what it really means to be so. As the film begun, I initially thought that Bob and Charlotte sense of feeling lost was simply because of the dramatic change of environment of Tokyo – however, as the film unfolds, I learned that the two characters aren’t only lost in a new city – they have lost themselves, and searching to find who they are  again as the film follows their journey of discovery.


As the two characters struggle to leave the security and comfort of their hotel, perhaps scared of what they will find in the depths of Tokyo, Bob and Charlotte continue to cross paths, in the elevator, corridors and the hotel bar. These small encounters grow a familiarness between the two, and as the film progresses, these small encounters gradually advance into a growing friendship between the two very different yet similar characters. I have learnt that the further we get into the movie, the more Bob and Charlotte have in common: a correlation that acts as a foundation for their growing friendship throughout the film even though their lifestyles vary. As Bob and Charlotte are introduced, both lost – they are found by each other. The characters mutual situations, sharing doubts in life, troubled relationships and the common feeling of isolation in an unknown city lead them to explore and discover Tokyo together, as well as it leads them to explore and discover themselves individually, on a mission to find who they really are and what their purpose in life is.


The two characters part their different ways as their stay in Tokyo comes to final, bringing the film to an end, not the typical happy ending that most films of today utilise. The meaningful bond that Bob and Charlotte have formed due to their mutual unawareness and search for their purpose, has helped them resolve their conflicts and find each other – just in time for them to separate. The ending of Lost in Translation illustrates the theme of loss and their sadness of leaving their time together in the past – returning from their escape from the life they are sick of, emphasising their heartfelt friendship and its significance for me as the viewer.

Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sofia Coppola is a film that I thoroughly enjoy watching and rewatching as the setting continues to impress me: it is well thought through and correlates to the story and my personal experience of Tokyo: a city so diverse and out of this world. Additionally, it taps into my thoughtfulness as the film has answered the question of what it means to be lost and excluded– a feeling which I believe anyone can relate to. Bob and Charlotte, define the answer to this question in a world of exclusion and isolation on their journey of discovery in a world where they are both lost; found by each other.

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