There are those airplane conversations with a stranger in which you reveal far more about yourself than you ever could to someone you know. For Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson) it's simply because you're in a space with someone who speaks the same language.
Charlotte's husband (Giovanni Ribisi) is a photographer who in his short time in Tokyo has adapted it as his home and tells Charlotte that she wouldn't have any fun going around with him anyway - more likely is that he is infatuated with the attention he receives from starlet Kelly (Anna Faris). Bob is an actor whose career has relegated him to doing caricatures of Roger Moore for whiskey ads. Murray doesn't go for broke in playing Bob rather being wryly sardonic than play for the guttural laugh. It took a lot of restraint for Murray to play Bob Harris and he was handsomely rewarded with a nomination for Best Actor for it.
This year's Best Actor race reminds me quite a bit of the 2004 Academy Awards. Sean Penn after being nominated several times, but not winning for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown and I Am Sam is nominated again for Mystic River and his biggest challenge is Bill Murray for Lost in Translation. While both performances are remarkable Murray's character is the one you want to hang with, yet ultimately the Oscar went to Penn for his collective works. Flash forward to this year's race Colin Firth and George Clooney both give great performances, but Jeff Bridges has gone unrewarded so long that it really would be a travesty to not give him the Oscar for Crazy Heart.
Marriage is hard and Bob has known this for quite some time, but Charlotte in her youth is just catching up to that fact. Two kindred spirits unfocused and unsure where their lives are headed take solace in each other's company during Bob's stay. Coppola could have gone for the lusty melodrama but instead allows Bob and Charlotte to just be with one another. Whether Bob tells Charlotte he loves her, to go back to her husband, or whatever, the whisper they share at the end of one of the finest endings ever.