“Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun”
When I first saw Lost in Translation someone had erroneously sold it to me as a romantic comedy which, despite being both romantic and at times very funny, does not quite do Sofia Coppola’s film justice. I was 15 at the time, the perfect age to have my heart broken and my mind blown in the same screening room.
There are many things I love about Lost in Translation—the music is just the right side of cool, the production design is stunning, and the performances immaculate—but I mostly love it because it is about intimacy rather than romance. We are introduced to two lost souls, both at transition points in their lives. Charlotte is young and just figuring out what sort of person she wants to be and Bob is already at the stage where he is disappointed in the person he has become. Together, they both fulfill a need in the other that exists at that precise moment; at the end of it they have become different people.
Charlotte and Bob both seem to know exactly what is happening and how special this is and, although their relationship is not traditionally romantic, it somehow feels far more significant because of that. The lingering glances, the way Charlotte rests her head on Bob’s shoulder, how he tenderly touches her ankle as they watch a film together, all reinforce that it is them against the world, but just for now, in this specific moment in time and space.
The ending features a wonderfully maddening scene where Bob whispers something in Charlotte’s ear, to which we are not made privy before they share their only kiss. It really isn’t that important what he said, just that he said it.
It often seems as though the art we discover at that formative stage of adolescence somehow becomes tangled up in our personalities as we get older. That is certainly the case for me at least. Whenever I watch Lost In Translation, I am instantly 15 years old again and earnestly ready to have my heart broken.