In the early part of the year when I first began my Women Who Wow Wednesday feature, I concentrated my efforts on kick-ass women. If you ever wondered about Ellen Ripley, Hit-Girl, The Bride and Mathilda, they’re all there waiting for your craving eyes. As the months went on, however, I noticed a subtle change. Rather than focus only on women who physically can beat the willies out of their enemies, I’ve also chosen to write about women who are kick-ass in heart, style and grace. Take a look at my posts for Debra Barone, Adrian, Rose, and Scarlett O’Hara.
Enter Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), who I’m sure doesn’t even have a last name in the movie Lost in Translation. At least I didn’t catch one, I’m sure of it. She’s stuck in a hotel room in the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, Tokyo while her photographer husband is on assignment shooting who knows what. She passes the time staring blankly out her 56th floor window to the Japanese skyline. There’s a lot to see when you’re lonely.
Bob Harris (Bill Murray) makes his appearance soon after. A film entourage greets him in the lobby speaking nothing but Japanese. With certainty, something’s bound to get lost in translation. He’s twice Charlotte’s age, married, kids, and almost there as a favor for his agent who can’t get him a gig anywhere else. No one says he’s done, but the implication is there, given his stint working in a whiskey commercial in Japan.
They first notice each other in a cramped elevator filled with Japanese businessmen. They don’t say much. She smiles, yet continues with her day. It isn’t until they catch eyes once again in the hotel’s New York Bar located on 52nd floor that they wonder how weirdly coincidental life is. It’s late in the evening, he leaves, paying his tab, and she stays with her husband, laughing with friends.
As the clock hits 4:20 AM, unable to sleep, Charlotte dives under the covers with her husband, but he grumbles something and tells her to go to sleep. In another room, four floors below, Bob lays awake sitting on his bed in a daze. A fax comes in from his wife in America asking him which shelves he wants in his study. Renovations, I suppose.
The next night, at 3:00 AM, again Charlotte can’t sleep. She finds herself at the bar as Bob remains seated, lost in his thoughts. He notices her. They strike up a conversation. He talks about his wife needing space. She talks about her husband’s work. They get to the marriage questions. She’s been married two years, and he says he’s got her beat at twenty-five years. In that brief moment she jokes about him experiencing a mid-life crisis and wonders if he had purchased a Porsche yet. He’s thinking about it, of course. He asks her what she plans to do with her life. She says philosophy—she doesn’t know what to do with it, but she can certainly think about it a lot. They click their glasses wishing they both could sleep.
So that’s how Charlotte meets Bob, in a bar, fifty-two floors above the Japanese skyline. It doesn’t end there, by any means. It’s only the beginning. You see, Charlotte represents a woman lost in life making a connection with someone who awakens her ambition to better herself. Someone who speaks to her soul. Not in an emotional or sexual sense. More on a deep, intellectual and spiritual level. Whatever she may have felt before meeting him hadn’t disappeared. It still lays there dormant, waiting. Yet he introduces something in her life, something of substance she craved.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.
Have you seen Lost in Translation? What did you think of Charlotte’s friendship with Bob?