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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

Lost in Translation (2003) ft. Kieran B

Guest: Kieran B (Best Picture Cast)


  • Sofia Coppola, Writer/Director

  • Bill Murray as Bob Harris

  • Scarlett Johansson as Charlotte

  • Giovanni Ribisi as John

  • Anna Faris as Kelly

  • Fumihiro Hayashi as Charlie

  • Catherine Lambert as a jazz singer


  • Lost in Translation was wide released on September 12, 2003.

  • Lost in Translation received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for Murray's performance and for Coppola's direction and screenplay; minor criticism was given to the film's depiction of Japan.

  • At the 76th Academy Awards, Lost in Translation won Coppola the Best Original Screenplay, and the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Coppola), and Best Actor (Murray).

  • The film would garner roughly $44.5 million on a budget of $4 million.

  • Lost in Translation currently holds a 95% on RT among critics, a 91 score on Metacritic, and 3.8/5 on Letterboxd.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Being both physically lost in a completely foreign country as well as metaphorically lost in your own life whether that is near the beginning or in the middle. (theatrical tagline: "everyone wants to be found")

Plot Summary: "Lost in Translation" (2003), directed by Sofia Coppola, is a bittersweet tale of isolation and connection set amidst the bustling streets of Tokyo. This delicately crafted film captures the essence of cultural displacement, exploring the intimate journey of two lost souls who find solace in each other's company.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray), an aging American movie star, arrives in Tokyo to film a whiskey commercial, grappling with a midlife crisis and a deteriorating marriage. He finds himself caught in a whirlwind of unfamiliarity and a profound sense of alienation, as the language, customs, and vibrant chaos of the city overwhelm him.

Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a young college graduate accompanying her photographer husband, is similarly adrift in Tokyo. Burdened with an unsatisfying relationship and a sense of existential ennui, she roams the city's neon-lit streets searching for meaning and connection.

"Lost in Translation" is a contemplative exploration of the human experience, delving into themes of loneliness, existential crisis, and the universal need for human connection. With its dreamlike atmosphere, remarkable performances, and a heartfelt script, the film invites audiences to reflect on their own lives, prompting questions about the nature of identity, love, and the search for meaning in a world that often feels overwhelming and impenetrable.

Did You Know:

  • Sofia Coppola wrote the lead role specifically for Bill Murray, and later said that if Murray turned it down, she wouldn't have done the movie.

  • Sofia Coppola wasn't sure if Bill Murray was actually going to show up for the film. Murray works without a management, and according to Coppola, he had only given her a verbal confirmation. While production was being set up in Tokyo with no sign of him, she started to get nervous, but was assured by Wes Anderson (who had directed Murray in Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)) that Murray was a man of his word. It was indeed when Murray landed in Tokyo one week before filming that his participation was ensured.

  • The opening shot of Scarlett Johansson is actually influenced by a painting by John Kacere, whose painting shows up later in the hotel. Johansson was reportedly nervous about appearing in her underpants, so to ease her down, Sofia Coppola did the first take herself while wearing the same underpants.

Best Performance: Bill Murray (Bob)/Sofia Coppola (Writer/Director)

Best Secondary Performance: Sofia Coppola (Writer/Director)/Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte)

Most Charismatic Award: Scarlett Johansson (Charlotte)/Bill Murray (Bob)

Best Scene:

  • Bob's Arrival

  • Suntory Time

  • Midnight Drink

  • Photoshoot

  • Meeting Kelly

  • Partying in Tokyo

  • Karaoke

  • Marriage and Life

  • Last Elevator Ride

  • Goodbye

Favorite Scene: Suntory Time/Photoshoot/Partying in Tokyo

Most Indelible Moment: Suntory Time/Karaoke/Goodbye

In Memorium:

  • Jessie Maple (Patton), 76, American cinematographer and film director (Will, Twice as Nice). Patton was said to be the first Black woman to direct an independent feature-length film in a post-civil rights America.

  • George Riddle, 86, American actor (Simon, Arthur, Little Manhattan, and Cressbeckler on The Onion News Network).

  • Sergio Calderón, 77, Mexican-born American actor (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Men in Black, The Ruins).

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Charlotte: Let's never come here again because it would never be as much fun.

Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.

Charlotte: It's scary.

Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.

Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.

Bob: Your life, as you know it... is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk... and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.

Charlotte: That's nice.

Bob: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

Charlotte: I just don't know what I'm supposed to be.

Bob: You'll figure that out. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.

Charlotte: 25 years. That's uh, well it's impressive.

Bob: Well you figure, you sleep one-third of your life, that knocks out eight years of marriage right there. So you're, y'know, down to 16 in change. You know you're just a teenager, at marriage, you can drive it but there's still the occasional accident.

Charlotte: I just feel so alone, even when I'm surrounded by other people.

Charlotte: I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses... taking pictures of your feet.

Charlotte: [making fun of his one-night stand] Well, she is closer to your age. You could talk about things you have in common, like growing up in the '50s. Maybe she liked the movies you were making in the '70s, when you still were making movies.

Bob: Wasn't there anyone else there to lavish you with attention?

Stills Photographer: You know double-O-7?

Bob: He drinks martinis, but all right.

[at a photo shoot]

Bob: You want more mysterious? I'll just try and think, "Where the hell's the whiskey?"

Stills Photographer: Are you drinking, no?

Bob: Am I drinking? As soon as I'm done.

Bob: Roger Moore? I always think of Sean Connery...nah, nah, Roger Moore.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 6.67

Impact/Significance: 7.67

Novelty: 8.17

Classic-ness: 7.67

Rewatchability: 7.67

Audience Score: 8.6 (87% Google, 85% RT)

Total: 46.45

Remaining Questions:

  • What does Bob say at the end to Charlotte?

  • Does Charlotte try to kiss Bob in the elevator?

  • Does either marriage last?

  • Do they see each other again?

  • Does Bob play an entire hole of golf with just a driver?

  • What would have happened if they both stayed?

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