It has been over 20 years since the release of Lost In Translation, and it is widely considered to be one of the best films of the 2000s. The critically-acclaimed 2003 Sofia Coppola-directed film stars Bill Murray as Bob, an aging American actor who finds his star power to be dimming, so he ends up traveling to Japan to participate in commercials. At the hotel he’s staying at, he meets Charlotte, played by Scarlett Johansson, who has accompanied her photographer husband on a trip.
The two lonely individuals spend time together throughout their trip and form an unlikely friendship. The film has remained a favorite of many and is accepted as one of Sofia Coppola’s best directing feats. However, some have gotten stuck on the ending, with many questioning what Murray’s character may have said in the last scene.
What Happens At The End Of Lost In Translation
After developing a bond with Charlotte throughout his stay in Japan, the time comes when Bob’s commercial duties in Tokyo come to an end and he must depart. On his way to the airport in a taxi, he sees Charlotte walking down the street. He asks the car to pull over and he approaches her in the street. They embrace and he whispers something to her that is inaudible to audiences. We only hear Charlotte say “Okay” after Bob has finished speaking. They share a quick kiss and say goodbye before going their separate ways.
The moment is incredibly sweet, and while there is a significant age difference between our lead actors, their bond is undeniable and special. The way Johannson plays the scene is perfect, and probably should’ve earned the Marriage Story actress an Oscar nomination. The whisper itself feels so intimate and personal even though it is done on a public walkway. People have also had theories over the years about what Murray said in the moment that prompted the kiss from Johannson’s character. This has led to the Lost In Translation ending being one of the most widely-debated cliffhanger endings.
What People Think Bill Murray Whispered
While the sound is unintelligible, fans have tried different audio tricks with technology to try and figure out what Murray may have said to the Charlotte character. One viral YouTube clip that played around with the audio insists that Murray said: “I have to be leaving but I won’t let that come between us. Okay?” This is accepted by some, but even with the audio changed, it’s really hard to decipher if the remixed Lost In Translation audio reveals anything at all. Also, Johansson herself seemed to debunk this in an interview with Yahoo! where she said:
However, I think the best answer to the age-old mystery is the answer given by filmmaker Coppola herself, who claims that nothing was said at all. She explained to Far Out Magazine in 2022 that the scene was shot on the last day of filming Lost In Translation, and the original plan was to add in words in post-production before ending up deciding to just keep in the unintelligible whispering. The director explained:
There may not have been actual impactful words said by an actor in the scene, but within the context of the movie, whatever Bob says to Charlotte means the world to her, and leads to a beautiful moment between the characters. I’d like to think he said something about how much their shared experience meant to him, or how he will always remember her. Maybe he asked her to reconnect with him when she returned to America.
We will truly never know, but it is somehow fitting that possibly the most important line in the film remains “Lost In Translation.”