Spanglish, Lost in Translation

kinnon —  May 1, 2005 — Leave a comment

Lost in Translation is probably my favourite movie of the last decade. Bill Murray is fabulous, poignant and funny. The hotel call girl scene is hysterical. The dislocation of the Murray and Scarlett Johansson characters as a parable of our times is perfectly painted in the hotel rooms, bars and streets of Tokyo. However, what I find most interesting is that the central characters never consummate their relationship – Murray returns to his wife – physically faithful if not heart faithful.

James Brooks’ Spanglish was one of the DVDs that accompanied us on our recent Texas road trip. Not in the same league as Sophia Coppola’s film, but interesting no less. Sandler’s character is married to a completely self-absorbed woman played by Tea Leoni. Paz Vega’s character enters their home as a Spanish speaking housekeeper – and as she learns English, she and Sandler develop a relationship of sorts. Most viewers root for him to leave his unfaithful wife and move on to the beautiful Paz. And yet he remains faithful.

Is it just me or is a change happening. Two movies where families stay intact in spite of pain and "valid options" are not a sea change. And yet…

The Emergent generation is more concerned about authenticity and transparency. They’ve lived through the pain of their parents divorces, remarriages and divorces. They long for relationships that last – even when memories are erased (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). To quote Roy Williams, again, "I’m OK/You’re OK has been replaced by I’m screwed up/You’re screwed up, let’s get over it and do something!" Emergents want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Methinks they will be more successful at building lasting relationships than we Boomers have been.

Update: Imbi is finally watching Lost in Translation and I’m blogging while she watches. I did forget the one night stand of Murray’s character – but even that is treated as an uncomfortable mistake in the movie.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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