Lost in Translation was directed by Sofia Coppola and starred Bill Murray (Bob Harris) and Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte). It was released in 2003.
You know you’ve seen a good film when you want to go have coffee afterward and discuss it. I’ve seen the film a few times now. I do that with good filmmaking. There’s always so much more to glean the second time around.
Bob is a Hollywood actor leveraging his fame doing $2m commercials in Japan but would rather be performing on Broadway. He is still married because he has kids. Charlotte is intelligent, curious and just graduated. But, she’s been married two years to a photographer sure of his direction and not keenly inclined to help Charlotte find hers.
The two – Bob and Charlotte – find each other in the bar of the hotel in which they both stay.
Interesting paradigm is the Kelly Strong character (Anna Faris) – the bimbo-like blonde actress promoting her just-released action film in Tokyo. She crosses paths with Charlotte and her husband John in the hotel lobby. John had once photographed her.
In her press conferences, Kelly expounds on her practice of yoga, karate and her intelligence with forced confidence. She cant believe that she, an actress typecast into romantic-comedy roles, was asked to cross into the action genre. How did she get this break, you sense her asking. Her expectations clearly did not provide a glimpse of this day. And, where she has exceeded her expectations, Bob and Charlotte have fallen shy of theirs.
Kelly has been introduced it seems to provide the intelligent plot comparison.
Bob and Charlotte are as lost at home as they are in Japan. They think deeper, analyze more and expected more of their lives. They are bewildered by their disenchantment and find comfort and oneness in the other’s condition. They look to each other for answers and in them find companionship, understanding and love. A bond created. Translation made.
Is it possible that the complexity of the lead characters (Bob and Charlotte) is a diversion? Should we be studying the success of Kelly instead?
After all, Kelly is happy. Bob and Charlotte are people unhappy in their marriages and unhappy in their direction. And you know that people unhappy in their current circumstance are going to be unhappy wherever they are. Japan is the metaphor.
The answer is no. Study Bob and Charlotte. Keep on hoping. Keep on expecting. And don’t’ be surprised when you get there.
For more on Lost in Translation, visit: www.imdb.com