Lost in Translation - Film Analysis

Lost in Translation - Film Analysis from MUST SEE FILMS on Vimeo.

Lost in Translation Film Analysis


Sofia Coppola presents an intimate and touching portarle of a two people alienated in Tokyo. This highly requested film has found its way into peoples hearts and is a favourite of mine to revisit as the filmmaker creates a relatable world and a personal adventure.

This video will explore the characters of the film and how Sofia Copllola uses cinematic technques to enhance the story.

The title of the film has two meanings for the film, Characters are literally in a forgien country and there understanding and communications are lost in translation, creating a world of excution which allows moments of sutble comedy to arise through the focus of the language barrier.

The title can also be interpretated as not being able to communicate with others no matter the language in our daily lives. This put our main characters not only in a geograohic disposition but introdduces them at certain points in their lives where relationships are difficult and meaning is lost.

Our charcaters doubts in life and troubled relationships are amlified by their mutual feelings of islotion in this alientating city.

Chronologically the film follows a pattern of executuion/searching to discovery and finally loss.

During these three phases of the story our charcater act and interact differently.

The story revolves around 3 chacarters

Bob and charoletter and presented as equals in the story following similar journey’s of discovey.

Bob arrives with a fading career and Characoletter has a major lack of direction, both are full of doubts, troubled relationship.

The third charcter which is ever changing is the wolrd and environment carefully created by Sofia Coppola through the use of Tokyo, This is created mainly though seeing this world through the POV of our charcters.

As Their relationship is shaped the city presents a difference colour of emotion for them, showing us that the external world is a representation of ther internal minds of the characters and of their joined and share relationship.

1. During the opening phases of the film, Bob and Chroletter awaken into a surreal new world as the first section of the films shows them to be isolated, searching and full of issues.

This is showen visually by Sofia Coppola choice to execut the characters from the frame, a whole range of shots are designed to show a large portion of the frame as empty and out of focus, filled in by lanscape, telling use that our characters has showing missing in their lives and they are in a daze from this new environment. Emphasising the theme of being alone or absent of character.

Both characters are presented in a simliar fashion, again showing us their fimialr position in Toyko and in life.

2. The second phase of the film, introduce the two charcters and begins a more exciting, welcoming time of discovery.

If we consider the idea that the world around them is refelcting their internal thoughts, we can see they take this oppourtunity to reinvent themselves as well as relate each other about their true lives. Shots of parties, karaoke even hospitals seem more exciting than the hotel which in the beginning acts as a prision of safety which both were trapped.

3. The final phases of the film seeing emotions of loss, slightly different contexts for each charcters but we can see that the once forgien and mystical world is now strangely familiar and as the character leave each other Sofia Coppola lets the City and streets which we have now have affection for close out the films final shots.

Magic Quality.


Because each film is different and the nature of film itself is so subjective I must appoarch each film in a way that relfects the type of meaning its trying to communicate.

The populrity and relatability of Lost in Trnaslation can be broken down into a regualr romatic comedy however the succes of the film seems to reily of the communication of some magical quality.

One possibility is that the performance of Bill Murray, This may one of, if not his best performance as the everyman with witty charm.

Another reason this film is so unique and pleasurable to revisit is its timeless quailty. The film really taps into people deepest moments of thoughfullness and lonilness. Most of the film seems as if it takes place between days in the darkest of sleepless nights and an insomnia type qulity creates a world in which of our characters can visit. This is reinforced by our introduction to the character being moments were they are both either asleep or waking.

The film makes it so easy to relate to the charcters as everything else in the film is chosen to aliente not only the charcaters but the audience, allowing us to crasp onto bob and charcloette our only link to this world.

Love Story


This film presents a unique portyal of the romatic comedy genre, allowing the feelings of affection and desire serve as a constant tension throughout the whole film.

The beginning of the film shows their relationship as a releif to find someone is their current situations, the film is tasteful at showing the slow nature of the relationships progress and despite the excitement of each others company, never do they belittle their old lives and both characters maintain and even try to reach out with their loved ones.

A major turning point in the film where a lesser film would have shown an affair or a heated argument between the two is when the are talking in bed together. The sincere tenderness of the performnces and honesty of both characters shows us a real display of two character valuing their own life despite the yearning and taboo idea of affair. The location of a hotel bed is the perfect way for the story to tell us that this film is different and however romatic the setting, both characters maintain a level of respect and dignity, possibily allowing more of an audicent to relate as people often see themselves in the characters as they watch the film.

The mutaul feeling of finding someone else who is going through similar problems and issues of direction in life inspire the other to cointue.

The ending of the film is so fitting for the type of film this is, both characters come to the conclusion that dispite marriage and the age gap and the circumstances it doesn’t allow them to be lovers or stay friends, despite finding a relatiionship in each other that is more moving than other around them.

As bob whispers in Charolettes ear the story leaves a small gap for the audience to fill in making this very perosnal journey even more perosnal to each audience member as any invested audience would ponder over theyre final interaction.

The audio however was digitally enhanced on another youtube video and twon possible sentences have been heard.

‘I have to be leaving but I wont let that come between us ok, ok.

"When John is ready for his next business trip, go up to that man and tell him the truth, okay?"

Both are valid but the fact that multiple have surfaces olny empahsies that idea that each person has a chose to fill in their other piece of the puzzle and I enjoy when film makers give the audience a chance to be an active an imaginitive participant.


Lost in Translation stand as a tocuhing love story in a timeless world, but also manages to showcase Bill Murray’s subtle and witty humour through his dialogue and the isolating situations the story put him in.

What other Romatic comedys do you think change the genre


What other Bill Murray performances do you love!!

  • 11/08/2014 17:32:06
  • |
  • Film Analysis
  • |
  • Darren Foley

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Add your e-mail to make sure you never miss another video & stay up to date


Email: contact@mustseefilmspodcast.com