Sure, there is sort of a love story between the two leads. But the real love-hate story lies with the portrait of Japan that's a mixture of awe and post-card kitsch and outsider foreigness.
Bob and Charlotte are two people at different ends of their careers who both have no idea what they want.
Bob's been married since before Charlotte was born but Charlotte is facing the same doubts about her wedded life.
Much of Sophia Coppola's quietly understated and beautiful film shoot the leads alone in the giant majesty of Japan from the impossible to miss Mt. Fuji to the crowded streets of Tokyo. This is not a verbose flick, but it speaks volumes.
There are many perfect moments in it, one in particular (from the Trailer) of Charlotte in a pink Karaoke wig leaning on Bob's shoulder and Bob looking a bit awkward at the absudity of the situation he's found himself in halfway around the world from a life that doesn't really mean anything to him anymore.
Lost In Translation captures what it's like to be alone and to make a connection while still remaining alone.
It's very sad and lovely.
Diane Lane got a lot of attention for her wordless transition of emotions in Unfaithful. Bill Murray does a similar trip-up at the end of Lost as he watches Scarlett Johansson's Charlotte disappear behind mirrored elevator doors.
Finally, a film that isn't about forced dialogue and unbelievable situations.
Coppola's on-the-fly directorial style (quite different from the more formalized, scripted style of her father's films) gives the viewer a feeling of being there, next to Bob or Charlotte. It's very much an intimate picture of two very relatable characters.
I'm not sure I make a lot of sense when I write. For a more complete review, Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly writes much more articulately about this film. You can find her review at: