Study Guide

Lost in Translation Friendship

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Charlotte answers the door. Bob's wearing a hideous yellow-and-orange camouflage T-shirt.

CHARLOTTE: You really are having a mid-life crisis, huh?

BOB: Really?


BOB: I was afraid of that. I kept telling myself that, you know, I just wanted to be ready in case we go to war tonight.

Nervous much, Bob? It's one thing for Bob to sit and crank up the witty repartee meter to 11 in the hotel bar. It's another thing for him to tag along with her and some of her presumably younger friends.

BOB: Here, will you cut the tag out for me?

CHARLOTTE: Sure. You’re too tall.

BOB: Uh, anybody ever tell you you may be too small?

There's a level of intimacy in cutting the tag out of someone's shirt, just like there is in giving them a hard time about the tag in the first place or simply tucking it back under their collar for them.

CHARLOTTE: Let's never come here again, 'cause it would never be as much fun.

She's probably right. Sometimes you just can’t recreate those special moments, so why try? It would just be depressing.

BOB: You're not hopeless.

Yup, this is basically Bob's version of "I love you." He's rooting for Charlotte, and that means a lot. That's what friends do; they have your back when all your other relationships—parents, siblings, boyfriends and girlfriends, bobsled coaches—are in the metaphorical toilet.

CHARLOTTE: That was the worst lunch.

BOB: So bad. What kind of restaurant makes you cook your own food?

CHARLOTTE: When are you leaving?

BOB: Tomorrow.

CHARLOTTE: I'll miss you.

As the end of their time together in Tokyo draws near, both Bob and Charlotte get more direct in their speech. There are fewer jokes and more straightforward, honest statements like this.

BOB: I don't want to leave.

CHARLOTTE: So don't. Stay here with me. We'll start a jazz band.

See? By the end of the film, even Bob's dropping the sarcasm and smugness shields a bit and being direct. What's interesting here is that Charlotte picks up his slack and makes the joke for him. They complement one another, and their interactions have a distinct, affable rhythm to them. You know, like the jazz band they're never going to start.

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