Thoughts on Lost in Translation
I recently watched Lost in Translation, a film chronicling the loneliness of two Americans in Tokyo. One a young philosophy graduate and wife pondering her purpose over cigarettes and the Tokyo skyline from her hotel window, another a jaded movie star-turned-TV commercial actor burning cigars and time in a hotel bar between shoots. Their friendship, while forbidden by their respective marriages, and sometimes uncomfortable to witness, is forged with their shared ennui, and begs viewers to question if they might someday enter their steady state of pale, muted emotion.
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.
As Bob shares with Charlotte in the throes of his midlife crisis, it’s hard – marriage and children, that is. It’s heartbreaking to see Bob’s deeply-rooted love for his family displayed as plainly as his yearning for a life outside of being a married family man. His lack of excitement about his marriage, along with my own observation of lifeless marriages, urges me to wonder how rich, passionate relationships devolve into ones marked by obligation and fatigue. I was brought to tears at several moments throughout the film, because I fear Charlotte and Bob’s disconnection from vulnerability and raw emotion. I’m guilty of their error, of distancing myself from honest feeling. I need to be wary of falling into that all-too-familiar trap.
Although the prospect of marriage, children, and hopefully, spiritless existence is in my distant future, the film still resonated with my current ruminations. I’m in a budding relationship filled with vigor and connection and it pains me to imagine it deteriorating into a listless partnership. This film, albeit morbid, offered a biting reflection on the vulnerability of a life deadened by humdrum, dispassionate existence, and the effort required to avoid becoming lost in translation.