Lost in Translation is one of my favorite movies of all time. Sofia Coppola is one of my favorite directors of all time. In honor of the film’s recent 10 year anniversary, I decided to do a post on it and it’s relatable themes to college.
Sweaty hands, ketchup stained clothes, and a mind full of thoughts. This runs through a lot of college students’ minds as they have to keep deciding what to do. Things have to be decided on. Homework has to be done. Job/Internship applications have to be filled out. All of this combined is enough to overwhelm anyone.
So here comes the 2003 Sophia Coppola film Lost in Translation. It is a film about an American actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray) who goes to Japan to film a whiskey advertisement. While in Japan, he feels disillusioned and out of place due to not understanding the language. He has problems in his 25 year marriage and is going through a mid-life crisis when he meets a young college graduate named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson). The film explores a number of themes that can be relatable to many undergraduates.
Feeling of Being Lost, Not Knowing What to Do
Many undergraduates are lost in the academia and events of college. They don’t know where to go. They have a series of commands endlessly told to them: focus on school, get an internship, apply to jobs, form good relationships with professors, eat healthy, manage your money. It can all be a little (or a lot) overwhelming. This is how Bob and Charlotte feel while in Japan. They are put in a sea of things and are unable to make sense of it. Bob and Charlotte are unsure of the things going on in their lives and what to do about it.
Looking to be Found
Everyone wants to find their place in the world. They want to find their niche in society. Having to decide on a college major, what things to join, what jobs/internships to apply to can be daunting. Bob and Charlotte both feel the same way. Charlotte is unsure of what jobs she should take since she is now out of college. Bob is unsure of his next action/decision in life. Through several events the two characters are finally able to connect and understand each other. To translate into how this connects to college: there is no one action that will get you to where you want to be. It is completely normal to have to go through several events/jobs/clubs to find out what you really want.
All in all, Lost in Translation lets a person see that others feel overwhelmed and out of place too. Although if a person keeps at something (ex: working towards a college degree) it will pay off in some way. They will have a better understanding of themselves because of their past experiences.
Movie Review by famed movie critic Robert Ebert.