Lost in Translation

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Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 15 (sexual references, adult themes, language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Lost in Translation
  • a review of Lost in Translation completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 22 January 2004.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to sexual references, adult themes and language.
Children aged 8-15 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and adult themes.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Lost in Translation
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references, Low level coarse language
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Bob Harris is a jaded, middle-aged movie star who goes to Tokyo to do a TV advertisement for whiskey. The conversation between himself and the television crew has to be interpreted and a lot of it is “lost in translation” with comic results. At the hotel he is staying in, Bob meets Charlotte, a fellow American and a philosophy graduate who is in Tokyo with her husband John. John is a photographer, who is in Tokyo for a photo shoot. He’s a fairly shallow person who doesn’t understand his wife’s need to find answers to life. Charlotte on the other hand, is a deep thinker looking for spiritual meaning to her life. She visits Buddhist temples, listens to self-improvement tapes and attends talks on reincarnation.

John’s commitments take him away for a time and while he’s away Charlotte and Bob, who are attracted to each other, become friends. Bob is ‘taking a break from his wife’ and Charlotte admires his sense of humour and his ‘laissez-faire’, more mature approach to life. Together they enjoy the Tokyo night life and each other’s company, however they’re both aware that there is probably no future for their relationship.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Relationships; Infidelity.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • There is just one violent scene in this movie. Bob and Charlotte are in a Tokyo bar when an altercation breaks out; the barman starts shooting with what appears to be a sub-machine gun and throws bottles at the patrons who all run out of the bar.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • The above scene would frighten children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

  • The above scene could frighten children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • The above scene could frighten children in this age group.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • The above scene might still frighten some children in this age group.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie:

  • Bob spends the night with a club singer though this is not actually shown, just implied.
  • Bob and Charlotte spend the night together fully dressed, no sex.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie including the following:

  • Charlotte appears in see-through underwear revealing her buttocks
  • A massage girl/prostitute is sent to Bob’s room and demands that he rip her stockings. When he’s not interested she falls on the floor kicking her legs in the air revealing bare thighs and pulls Bob on top of her.
  • There is a topless dancer in a nightclub wearing only a G-string and stockings. She lies on her back and spreads her legs.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is quite a lot of drinking and smoking in this movie.

Coarse language

There is a little coarse language including the following:

  • Oh my God
  • For Christ’s sake.

In a nutshell

The take home message is that it takes a lot of work on both parties to make a relationship work. Parents may wish to discuss with older children the concept of infidelity within relationships.