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Bob Harris, a Hollywood actor who is on a trip to Tokyo to shoot Japanese commercials for whiskey, is tired and sad and has lost any spark of life that he once had. His wife's affections amount to Fedexing him carpet samples from home. At one point, he muses that he is making 2 million dollars shooting some Japanese commercials when he could have been home acting in a play. He feels his life is meaningless.

Charlotte on the other hand is a Yale Philosophy major graduate who is coping with a new life and a new marriage. She is in Tokyo accompanying her photographer husband on one of his shoots in Tokyo.

They slowly get to know each other as they reside in the same hotel and they develop a sort of friendship/romance. Director Sophia Coppola describes the relationship this way: 'It's supposed to be romantic but on the edge. Those relationships you have in real life - a little bit more than friends but not an actual romance. They get each other and it's flirtatious. They both know it's not going to go anywhere. To me, it's pretty un-sexual between them - innocent and romantic, and a friendship.' It is more about two people with similar problems and fears who find each other when each is stuck in an isolated world of miscommunication and misperception and provide one another with support that does not seem to exist anywhere else in the world.

Apart from this relationship there is a lot of humor regarding miscommunications and differences in cultures. Which is what the title refers to as being lost in translation. Other characters are the young photographer, Charlotte's husband, a well-meaning guy who is sucked into the Hollywood lifestyle (even in Japan). There is also a Hollywood star promoting her new film. All in all this film isn't plot-driven but a very carefully paced character piece that is sparse on dialogue but full of nuanced action and excellent performances. It contemplates the unexpected connections we make that might not last - yet stay with us forever.

based on a review at Ain't It Cool News from someone who was at a test screening. I wish I were there too!!!

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