Study Guide

Lost in Translation Isolation

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LAUREN: How's Tokyo?

CHARLOTTE: It's great here. It's really great, um… I don’t know; I went to this shrine today, and, um, there were these monks, and they were chanting, and I didn't feel anything, you know? And, um, I don’t know… I even tried Ikebana, and John is using these hair products—I just, I don't know who I married.

LAUREN: Oh, can you wait a second? Just hold on. I'll be right back.

CHARLOTTE: Okay, sure.

LAUREN: Sorry, what were you saying?

CHARLOTTE: Nothing. It's okay. I'll call you later, okay?

LAUREN: Okay. Have the best time. Just call me when you get back, okay?

Thanks for nothing, Lauren. Charlotte isn't saying it directly here, but she is telling Lauren that she's lonely. She's essentially alone in a foreign country. Her husband's acting like a totally different person. She's not even moved by chanting monks anymore. Charlotte feels completely alienated from everyone around her, and even her good friend Lauren doesn’t understand that.

This is one of two symbolic hang-ups (as in phone hang-ups) in the film that communicate emotional disconnects, the other being the end of Lydia and Bob’s second call. AT&T would be very upset.

CHARLOTTE: Evelyn Waugh?

JOHN: What?

CHARLOTTE: Evelyn Waugh was a man.

JOHN: Oh, come on. She's nice. What? You know, not everybody went to Yale. It's just a pseudonym, for Christ's sake.

CHARLOTTE: Why do you have to defend her?

JOHN: Why do you have to point out how stupid everybody is all the time?

CHARLOTTE: I thought it was funny. Forget it.

It's not just the fact that Charlotte's the only one of her peers that knows who Evelyn Waugh is that isolates her. She’s also left all by her lonesome here because John defends Kelly and tries to make Charlotte feel like a big jerk.

BOB: Whose is this? "A Soul's Search: Finding Your True Calling."

CHARLOTTE: I don't know.

BOB: I have that.

CHARLOTTE: Did it work out for you, then?

BOB: Obviously.

The fact that Charlotte has that audiobook is proof that she’s desperate to try anything to “find herself.” As for Bob, well… Do you think Bob really has that book, too, or is he just trying to be nice?

LYDIA: Look, I'm glad you're having fun.

BOB: It's not fun. It's just very, very different.

LYDIA: Maybe that's good. I have to get the kids off for school, okay? So can I call you in a while?

BOB: I might not be up. It's like 4:00.

LYDIA: You better get some sleep; you have work in the morning.

BOB: No, actually, they gave me tomorrow off.

LYDIA: That must be nice.

Bob and Lydia feel so distanced from each other that he might as well be calling from the bottom of the ocean. (We hear they have terrible reception down there, though.) And as her sarcastic "That must be nice" evidences, Lydia's feeling pretty isolated, too, while she hangs back in the States and takes care of their kids.

BOB: All right. Have a great, great night. I mean, I guess have a great morning.

Assuming Lydia lives in Los Angeles, there's a literal 16-hour time difference between them. The day/night divide adds to the sense of living in totally different worlds. Or at least time zones.

BOB: How are the kids doing?

LYDIA: They're fine. They miss their father, but they're getting used to you not being here. Do I need to worry about you, Bob?

BOB: Only if you want to.

The fact that Bob's kids are used to him being gone just makes his sense of isolation sting that much harder. We also get the sense here that Bob really wants Lydia to show more concern about him, or just interest in him, in general. What do you think?

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