Education About Asia: Online Archives

Lost in Translation

Download PDF

Lost in Translation is Sofia Coppola’s most ambitious film to date. It depicts the interaction of two Americans, both fish out of water in a hotel in Tokyo. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an over-the-hill American actor in Tokyo to film
whiskey ads; “Charlotte” is a recent college graduate who has accompanied her photographer-husband to Tokyo and been left to amuse herself. Bob and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) spend time together, develop an affection for each other, and part. In one scene they share a bed, but they never make love. Slight gestures—his hand reaching out tentatively to grasp her ankle, her turning away into an elevator—are supercharged. The film garnered four Oscar nominations—best film, best actor, best director, and writing (original screenplay)—and won for writing. Now in her early thirties, Coppola is the first American woman nominated for an Oscar for directing (she was also producer and screenwriter).