Lost in Translation

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Lost in Translation Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Excellent but mature film about finding a connection.
  • R
  • 2003
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Explores times of searching in life for identity and purpose. And it also shows how precious it is to find a sense of connection when you feel like an outsider.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bob has an affair, which upsets Charlotte, but otherwise they form a solid friendship.


Friends of Charlotte provoke a bartender and get chased with a gun that probably has rubber bullets. Someone throws a bottle at them and they get chased some more.


Bob has an affair, but nothing is shown. An escort is sent to Bob's door and tries to play-act getting her stockings ripped; Bob wants none of it. In a Tokyo strip club bare-breasted women in barely there G-strings writhe around and give friends of Charlotte a lap dance.


Song in strip club about "sucking on my "t--ies." Plus "s--t," "hell," and "Christ's sake."


Characters stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and many scenes take place in the hotel.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Charlotte smokes and her husband says "it's just so bad for you." She says, "I'll stop later." Plenty of smoking and drinking in the many bar scenes. Charlotte and friends smoke pot before singing karaoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lost in Translation shows many aspects of night life in Tokyo, including drinking and smoking. Characters also go to a strip club (where women are topless and wearing barely there G-strings and giving lap dances), get chased out of a bar with a fake gun, smoke pot before performing karaoke, and one character has an affair (with nothing shown). There's a little bit of strong language that includes "s--t."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 13-year-old Written byKeegs M July 15, 2018

By Far My Favorite Movie of All Time

Lost in Translation, has been my favorite film for a while now. Now, I'm not saying that by watching it, it will be exactly the same for you too. However,... Continue reading
Adult Written byEluna4ever4 April 16, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written bySpielberg00 May 31, 2012

A big mistake on the MPAA's part.

My suggested MPAA rating: PG-13 for some smoking and a scene of nudity/sexual content.

SEX: 3.5/5 - ONE SCENE, and that's it! That's the only reason... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJackOO7 July 27, 2021

Mostly PG-13

I watched the movie not knowing how much R rated stuff would be in it and I was suprised to see only one scene that was not appropriate. There was a strip club... Continue reading

What's the story?

LOST IN TRANSLATION centers on American movie star Bob (Bill Murray), who is in Tokyo to appear in whiskey ads, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), an unemployed wife who is there with her photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi). Everything in Japan makes Bob and Charlotte feel out of place. Neither can get to sleep, and their bleary disorientation contrasts with the sensory overload of Tokyo. But it's not just their brains that are out of focus; it is their hearts and souls as well. Both have a lot of trouble connecting to others, both are in transition. Bob and Charlotte connect in a way they don't understand. But they do understand that it is precious to them to feel that way -- or just to feel. And they treat that feeling with touching delicacy. She takes him to a karaoke club. He takes her to the emergency room when she hurts her toe. They don't exchange life stories, discover that they love the same poem, or have any of the usual movie indicators that they are soul-mates. They just understand each other a little and like each other a little more. And that is a very nice thing to observe.

Is it any good?

Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides) has written and directed a fascinating film. Lost in Translation is less about a story than about the sights, the feelings, the moments, and the especially the connection between two Americans adrift in Tokyo.

The performances by Murray and Johansson are tender delights. Anna Faris (Scary Movie) is deliciously perfect as a starlet who has had too many people tell her how interesting she is. Coppola is a master of moments and details, and here they add up to a story that is beautifully bittersweet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Bob and Charlotte are drawn to each other. What do they have in common? What is most different about them? Is their connection believable?

  • What do you think Bob whispers to Charlotte at the end?

  • Why do you think this movie was so critically acclaimed?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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