Lost in Translation

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Template:Infobox Movie (2) Lost in Translation is a (2003) motion picture. It was the second writing and directorial effort of Sofia Coppola (after The Virgin Suicides).

Tagline: Everyone wants to be found.


Cast (partial)


On its surface, Lost in Translation is a movie about culture shock between East and West, yet this reveals as a metaphor for more important themes of alienation and loneliness, and alternatively companionship. The film explores how these themes comingle at certain stages in life, against the background of highly modern Japanese cityscapes.

Bob Harris (played by Murray), is an American movie star on the downward slope of his career who has come to Tokyo, Japan, to film a Suntory whisky commercial. His marriage has cooled off decidedly—his wife calls frequently, not to actually talk to him, but to get his opinion on floor samples for remodeling their home. Harris finds himself in a city and culture beyond his comprehension for reasons that he has trouble remembering. Johansson is Charlotte, a recent philosophy graduate of Yale University, the wife of a Rolling Stone-type photographer (Ribisi) on assignment in Tokyo. As both a hanger-on and a left-behind, she begins to wonder where she is and what she is doing, and who the man that she married really is. Her husband has more time for his work and the young starlets (e.g., Faris) that he is there to shoot than for her. Bob and Charlotte, both lonely, lost, and sleepless, happen upon each other in the lounge of the hotel where they are staying (the Park Hyatt Tokyo) and strike up an unusual friendship. Drawn together by their mutual dissatisfaction and alienation, the two experience the stranger side of Tokyo nightlife, playfully exploring the foreign city, and finding comfort in relating to each other when nothing else in their lives seems to fit. Against the expected movie stereotype of man meets woman, the friendship is denied the chance to bloom into romance, and yet their fleeting time together makes a strong impression on both characters.

The film's pace is built around the characters as they linger in and make the most of passing moments. The movie lets the pictures and music tell the story, moreso than the dialogue, and the very prominent yet subtly organized soundtrack and detailed cinematography flesh out the minimal, open-ended acting. Bob and Charlotte are very much anchored in their surroundings, both disconcertingly unable to fit into the flow of things (as when Bob cannot believe that his commercial director's long-winded Japanese directions are merely a few words in English) and intent on creating moments of friendship and commonality through their circumstances (as when Bob is waiting for Charlotte in a hospital and strikes up a non-verbal conversation with a local bystander). All of these elements are drawn together to shape the development Bob and Charlotte's relationship.

In the end, the film is a delicately nuanced look at the mechanics of verbal and emotional miscommunication, igniting a spark of common humanity and yearning at the intersection between a mid-life and a quarter-life crisis. Slyly appealing to Baby Boomers as much as Generation X-ers, Lost in Translation rapidly earned itself a cult following for its almost uncanny ability to connect on a very personal level with viewers across the spectrum of age and culture.

Autobiographical elements

Much has been made of the parallels between the characters in the film and those in the life of Sofia Coppola. Indeed, Ribisi's character is similar to Coppola's then-husband Spike Jonze, and claims have been made that Faris' character is in fact based on Cameron Diaz, though Coppola has gone on record to say that this is not the case.


Boosted by critical acclaim and audience word-of-mouth, this modest feature film (with only a $4 million budget) became a comparative box office hit. Lost in Translation has been praised not only for Coppola's script and distinctive directing, but especially for Murray, who by most accounts gave the performance of his career. Johansson (only nineteen at the time) also received notice for her strong performance.

Some have strongly criticised the movie for being what is perceived to be a stereotyped and unsympathetic portrayal of Japanese culture. Many of the Japanese characters serve as comic relief and much of the humor is at their expense based on common Japanese stereotypes, such as their mispronouncing English or their relatively short stature. This position is not universally held as others have defended the film against these allegations. One Peter Sattler, in a letter to movie critic David Edelstein of Slate, wrote that "the feelings of strangeness are entirely in the American characters. The camera records beauties—cultural and natural—that the 'lost' visitors are unable to register or understand.... In the movie, Japanese culture estranges you from American culture—makes American culture look strange and dubbed, as much as the other way around." It should be understood that the alien landscape of Tokyo serves largely to illustrate the alienation the main characters experience, a feeling that persists not because they are in a foreign land, but because they are human.


The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and garnered four other Golden Globe Award nominations, for best director, best motion picture (musical or comedy), best actor (musical or comedy) (Murray), best actress (musical or comedy) (Johansson), and best screenplay. It won the awards for best picture (musical or comedy), best screenplay, and best actor (musical or comedy).

At the BAFTA film awards, the film won the editing and both best actor (Murray) and best actress (Johansson) awards, as well as being nominated in five other categories (best film, director, original screenplay, and cinematography).

It won four IFP Independent Spirit Awards, for best feature, best director, best male lead (Murray), and best screenplay.

Lost in Translation also received nominations for four Academy Awards: for best director (the first time an American woman was nominated for this award), best picture, best actor (Murray), and best original screenplay. It won the award for best original screenplay.

External links


bg:Изгубени в превода bs:Izgubljeni u prijevodu (2003) de:Lost in Translation fr:Lost in Translation it:Lost in Translation - L'amore tradotto nl:Lost in Translation sv:Lost in Translation ja:ロスト・イン・トランスレーション


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