Lost In Translation Essay

1057 words - 4 pages

After a rocky start to her directing career with Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola finds her groove in her second feature film Lost in Translation. Written and directed by Coppola, the film sets off to explore the unusual relationship between two jet-lagged strangers searching for clarity in their lives. The simple bond that ensues entices the audience with its relatable and genuine emotions. Too often, Hollywood seems to tell the audience what to feel, instead of using film properly: to show emotions.
Both the young and the old are captured by this candid and unexpected story of a friendship. Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a washed out, middle-aged actor doing a $2 million commercial in Tokyo, develops a strong friendship with Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) who has accompanied her new husband on another one of his posh photo shoots. Both characters find themselves in a period of uncertainty. Bob, feeling more and more estranged from his wife, relates to the woes of Charlotte as she struggles to find her own path in life, at times questioning her marriage. Their relationship sparks from a mutual time-zone induced insomnia that has them bumping into each other at the hotel bar at all hours of the night. Regardless of the age difference, this relationship feels much more real to each of them, than the superficial world of whiskey commercials and celebrities into which they have fallen. When Charlotte’s husband leaves her for the weekend to go on a photo shoot in southern Japan, their relationship takes off. Together they venture out into Tokyo, all the while drawing closer to each other. The pivotal scene comes when Charlotte seeks advice about her relationship from Bob, showing the intimacy that has developed between them. While always on the brink of turning romantic, Coppola does a good job keeping the relationship Platonic (although the audience secretly wishes for more). Her choice of avoiding the typical “love story” works well with the movie’s themes, adding to the feeling of watching real life, rather than a typical Hollywood story. As Bob says good-bye to Charlotte on his departure from the Park Hyatt, the encounter is awkward at best, but the unexpressed feelings heighten the overall impact of the film, truly capturing life in the real world. The ending is ultimately left up to the viewer, making the film even more captivating as the audience leaves the theater still pondering what will become of their futures.
Beyond the pseudo-America that the characters find at the Park Hyatt Hotel is the vast landscape of Tokyo. From the flashing neon lights as they dart among the taxis, to the roar of balls crashing in the Pachinko machines, the film is illuminated by the culture and life of Japan. My one complaint, however, is the over use of the Japanese for comic purposes. After a while, the stereotypes enforced by the film leave the realm of comedy and teeter on the verge of insult. Although a lot of the jokes are centered on Bob and Charlotte’s...

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