Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation photo
Photo by D. Tempesta

The first thing I did after watching this movie was ask myself the following question: “What did I just watch?” It was not a bad “what did I watch” like after watching From Dusk till Dawn. But it was not a good “what did I watch” like the first viewing of Let Me In. I genuinely did not know what I watched. Lost in Translation is certainly the most original movie I have ever seen, and I do praise it for that. But I am not sure I can give a summary as to what the movie was about. I suppose I should preface this by saying I think the movie is quite good; I just did not like it much.

Everything about the film was so normal. We watched two regular people live their lives for several days. Nothing remarkable happened the entire movie, yet I never became bored or disinterested. This alone is impressive enough. I have no desire to watch the movie again, but it did keep me engaged for the entire duration. While Lost in Translation does touch on several important and relevant themes, I don’t actually know what it was trying to tell its audience. While this is not necessarily an issue, it does cause a bit of frustration for me. I can’t help but think of the way Charles Dodgson talks about Jabberwocky when he says that he did not mean anything particular by it, but if people can get something from it, then that is great. In this regard, Lost in Translation succeeds. The concepts are presented to us and left for us to ruminate, but it takes no steps to lead us to conclusions. Again, not necessarily an issue. It just seems that a movie as deliberate as this would allow us the opportunity to logically reach the conclusions it wants us to. Of course, this is presuming there are conclusions it wants us to reach, which may not necessarily be true. Regardless, the topics represented are potent.

Bob and Charlotte, given all of their differences, would never be expected to be in the same spot in life. Yet that is exactly what we find. Both trapped in disingenuous marriages, bored of life, and incapable of finding relief even in sleep. It is in this commonality that they find comfort. We then watch them be their most authentic selves with each other. We see them enjoy life for a few days. It is from here that we are left to reach our own conclusions. And it is here where my frustrations begin. This no doubt comes from my views on life, but the way marriage is treated in this film infuriates me. Bob, Charlotte, and each of their spouses are to blame for the state of each of their marriages. However, that is no excuse for the way that Bob and Charlotte handle their own situations. Each of them finds something in the other that they should receive solely from their spouses. As I said before, they are most themselves when they are with each other. When that ‘each other’ is not your spouse, then that is an issue.

For the sake of dichotomy and multiple perspectives, I will offer a very contradictory reading to my previous paragraph. This movie is actually quite tragic. Under different circumstances (and under the ones given to an extent), the relationship between Bob and Charlotte is quite beautiful. What they find in each other many people never get to experience their whole lives. Once they separate, neither of them will ever find this again. Charlotte touches on this a bit when she says they should never come back to Tokyo because it will never be as fun. It is sad to think that neither of them will be able to experience life this positively again. Everything else is worse than what they shared. Now, to be fair, in talking to a friend about this, she did say she chose to see this as a positive. Because each of them was able to experience this, they can now take what they learned back to their individual lives and improve them. Given the characters we were presented, I cannot see Bob doing this. I can see Charlotte taking this approach, though. I believe the tragedy is still there, but this provides a bit of positivity to the story.

My name is Chuck, and these are my thoughts. Now I would like to know what you think. Did you enjoy the originality of this movie? What did you think of the relationship that Charlotte and Bob shared? Do you think this movie succeeded or no? Leave a comment down below, and we’ll talk. Enjoy the day!

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