Cinema Personal

Lost In Translation & The Quarter-Life Crisis

I’m going through a Quarter-Life Crisis.

I’ll be turning 25 in October, and what’s stressing me are thoughts about my future. Usually, the Quarter-Life crisis is marked by life choices, relationship and economic status, and how many achievements you have unlocked. Yet I’m not experiencing that.

I understand that being 24, there is plenty of time in my life to get married and to find a career. Adding onto that, I’m still at university doing undergraduate. What is causing my anxiety is fear that I won’t be happy in the future. That my existence will amount to nothing. These angsty thoughts belong in a teenager’s diary, and I thought I outgrew that angry, stressful phrase. But perhaps aspects of it stuck with me.

The word ‘crisis’ rarely indicates something permanent. For example, the term ‘Global Financial Crisis’ refers to a specific historical time that’s over. Although the GFC drained the world in heartbreaking ways, nations were able to partially recover and move on. A crisis is temporary. Because of that, I wonder. Why does my Quarter-life crisis feel permanent?

This brings me up to the film section of this blog post. In 2003, Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost In Translation” was released to critical acclaim. I ended up watching Coppola’s film in 2011, and I hated it. Yet, looking back, I don’t know why I had such a strong reaction against this film. Maybe I watched it at the wrong time in my life.

Now, as someone in their twenties and going through a ‘crisis’ of my own, I understand Charlotte. She’s treated like a ‘second-thought’ by her husband, and is often bored and out of sync with the fast pace of society. Charlotte is a lonely woman who is young… but feels old. Lost In Translation is one of the very few films that capture the angst of not feeling your youth.

I grew up with Gossip Girl on television, with wild characters maxing out their energy (and their parent’s credit cards). I remember reading the Harry Potter books- and was amazed at how Hermione Granger could be so driven and committed to study, make friends and hatch schemes. Media in the early 2000s was dominated by youthful characters who made every second count. An obvious example was Buffy Summers. When she wasn’t slaying vampires, she was shopping, dating, working, and hanging out with friends. It wasn’t until Season Six when Buffy The Vampire Slayer seriously tackled depression among the lead heroine. Other shows- such as Sex And The City, How I Met Your Mother had busy characters who managed to be happy and not worn down by the world.

However, what if like Charlotte- you have no youthful energy? What if you’d rather let a second be wasted? Lost In Translation deals with that quite well. Sofia Coppola deconstructs the idea that being busy and ‘successful’ leads to emotional fulfillment. Adding onto that, Coppola’s clever decision to set her story in Tokyo- a huge metropolis city- adds to the power of her message.

Lost In Translation is the sophisticated argument to slow down and forge meaningful connections. Sofia Coppola can’t solve the quarter-life crisis, but she offers comfort to people like me, who are going through it.

Plus, the soundtrack is also pretty awesome. (Convince me that My Bloody Valentine is not a good band!)

What do you think? Comment below! This was a sort of personal post, yet I hope I added to the wider discussion to what film can be capable of. Thanks for reading!

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