The Whisper (yet again)...

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52FM
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The Whisper (yet again)...

#1 Post by 52FM » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:25 pm

OK – this has been talked to death – what more can possibly be said? Well, I’ve been thinking about this in relation to something that happened in my life – not my “Charlotte” situation, but something else. And I finally see the “reaffirming” reaction that many people had at this scene – vs. the “kick in the stomach” that I and so many others felt.

This may be hard to follow – but I’ll try my best. First – I’ve always believed that LiT was semi-autobiographical for Sofia. That actually seems pretty likely from things I’ve read. I always wondered who “Bob” was in her life – not that it mattered – and how things ended for her. I always thought it more likely that they ended in the unsatisfying way they did for Bob and Charlotte at the hotel. Looks, thoughts, but no words.

One of the criticisms I always had of the whisper scene was how ridiculously unlikely it was that Bob would happen to see Charlotte on the streets of Tokyo – and get that last chance at closure that slipped away just minutes before. Contrived – I thought. Sofia could have written that out better.

But I also recall Ebert once writing that EVERYTHING that happens in a film is intentional. Every scene – every word – every item in a shot (well, there are bloopers that get past the editor, but you know what I mean). So maybe the “contrived” nature of this actually was intentional.

OK – I’m getting to a point that may be giving her more credit than she deserves, but I have just very recently thought of this differently. First – Sofia was disappointed in how her Bob/Charlotte situation ended – and she wrote that in as the awkward part in the hotel. Then she wrote in the type of closure she wished she had – but in such an unrealistic setting as if to say “in real life, it’s unlikely that you would ever actually get the type of closure that Bob and Charlotte managed to get.”

And then there is the whisper. Always, to me and most people, it was saying that Bob and Charlotte shared a private moment – after seeing them interact through the movie, we now are not privileged to hear what Bob said that made Charlotte smile, Bob smile, and both of them seemingly be able to move on. Some of us want to believe he said “call me”. Others of us want to believe it was one last expression of support for her to find her own way in life. The words were not important – the fact that they were said and had their effect of a satisfying closure was.

Now here is the real stretch. Maybe – Sofia didn’t get her closure in the same way, but after some time realized it was there all along. Whatever Bob whispered was unlikely to be something Charlotte didn’t already “know”. It may have been expressed for the first time verbally, but I suspect she knew how he felt. Had Bob not “miraculously” ran into her, would she live out her life wondering how Bob felt or wondering if Bob cared or wonder if Bob supported her? Of course not. So it may have been for Sofia. The “whisper” may have symbolized the voice in her head that told her – in the absence of the closure she wanted – how her Bob really felt.

In other words – as much as we want certain words to be said to us to close out a chapter in our lives, those “words” are probably already there. In the chapter in my life that made me think of this – I was the one wandering the streets so to speak, hoping for something more to help me move on. Wanting a “whisper” – one more verbalization of the support I needed. (Or better yet, one more night of karaoke or conversation.) But that’s not always realistic. It would be unfair for Charlotte to expect Bob to find her on the street and say exactly the right thing. Sometimes the circumstances aren’t right for that to happen.

Sofia realized that and maybe was trying to say that in this scene. Anyway – that’s what I take from this now. We would all like to think that Bob and Charlotte could meet again someday. And maybe they can. But for now, there is a greater need for Charlotte to assess what she has and doesn’t have – and continuing hanging out with Bob would just delay what needs to get done.

Can they meet again? Of course they can – when the time is right. The connection was never severed. But if they don’t – that doesn’t reduce the significance of what happened. Anyway – that’s not what is important at this point in their lives. In fact, it would be an insult to the connection they had if Charlotte dwelled on Bob and Tokyo rather than move toward fixing what was wrong. I’m sure now that Bob wouldn’t object to hearing from Charlotte at some time – but he would object if he thought it came at the expense of her working out her life.

It’s nice to get that last “pep talk” – that last “whisper”. But I suspect Sofia eventually did just fine without it - because it was there inside her all along.

(I do want to end by saying that I actually did get my “whisper” in the situation I was referring to. Obviously I would have moved on without it, but I’m certainly grateful it came.)

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#2 Post by Pockets » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:57 pm

A very interesting thought about that last scene.

I was thinking about your post for a while and my own new thoughts on the Whisper are... what if Bob is actually in the limo the whole time and is fantasizing what he would do if he could have a last chance, before leaving Tokyo, to talk to Charlotte? And whatever it is that he wants to tell her makes her happy to hear it... what if that last scene was all in his head?

The last we see of Charlotte is in the hotel lobby entering the elevator to return up to her hotel room. Even allowing for very heavy traffic, it is highly unlikely that she could make it back outside to that pedestrian mall to be seen by Bob from his limo.

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#3 Post by Pockets » Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:04 pm

Although, if Bob was to see Charlotte by chance in real life, he could have taken that as a special sign (from God or something) that their special relationship was meant to be... and then felt it okay to tell her that he loved her.

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#4 Post by 52FM » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:02 am

I've heard that the way the hotel is laid out, you have to take the elevator from the lobby to get to the street level. So it was possible.

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#5 Post by Pockets » Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:05 pm

Oh okay then. Too bad they couldn't have slipped a quick view of her leaving the hotel right after that. That makes sense that she would have been filled with many thoughts and wanting to walk it out, rather than being in her hotel room staring out the window or pacing the floor.

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#6 Post by Pitman » Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:31 pm

Yes, unless you know the lay out of the hotel, as later I found out, it does get confusing. I always thought the lobby was on the ground floor. But the hotel lobby is on the 41st. Floors 1–8 are occupied by retail stores, floors 9–37 are office floors and floors 39–52 are occupied by the luxury Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel. The New York bar is on the top floor. (hmm...what happened to floor 38?)

And this brings me to a beef I have with Sofia. I can't believe that in the movie John says he is "going downstairs" to meet Kelly for drinks. This was such an obvious mistake and only served to confuse us more. If the bar is on the top floor, (and in the movie it is also represented this way as you see the number of the floor on the elevator after Bob accepts the peanuts from Charlotte), then why is Sofia playing with our heads like this?? :?

http://www.hotelmanagement-network.com/ ... att-tokyo/

But, I digress from the topic of the thread.

As for Sophia's basing the movie on experience, yes I heard that before. It does sound plausible. I always felt she wrote the ending the way she would have preferred her experience to conclude.

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#7 Post by jml98 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:29 am

Pitman wrote:what happened to floor 38?
In Japan, the number 4 and 9 are unlucky because the pronunciation of those numbers in Japanese ("four" is the same pronunciation as "death" in Japanese, "nine" is the same as "agony"). Maybe there is no floor 38 for a superstitious reason? I only know of the 4 and the 9 superstition, but that doesn't mean their isn't one for 38.

I think, though, that "8" is lucky...short answer: i have no clue why there isn't a floor 38)



An aside: Charlotte asks "Why do they switch the R's and the L's here?"

The Japanese "r" is different from the English "r;" the sound is between the English "r" and "l." To make the "r" sound, you start to say "l" but make your tongue stop short of the roof of your mouth. The English "r" and "l" are difficult for Japanese speakers to pronounce because those sounds dont' exist. It's as if they are switched in Japanese (but not really
Last edited by jml98 on Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#8 Post by Pitman » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:47 pm

jml98, sounds like you speak Japanese! your description of how they pronounce the "r" was very informative...i'm currently learning some Korean and it's very similar in that respect...same "r" sound

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#9 Post by jml98 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:05 pm

actually i don't any japanese, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
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#10 Post by 52FM » Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:48 pm

Hey jml98 - your post is the first one on this board to make me laugh in a while!

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#11 Post by jml98 » Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:44 am

I love, by the way, how everyone on IMDB keeps asking this question. People have all kinds of theories and I think someone even said they used computers to figure it out...

whatever those users say, it just never seems quite perfect enough.

I don't know what Bob said and I don't want to know. I'm not usually a idealistic romantic, but in this case, I am; whatever Bob said is more perfect than any one of us could imagine.
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#12 Post by Bren » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:47 pm

I really like how noboby really knows what Bob whispered to Charlotte, one of the great aspects of the film in my view, and that we can make of it what we want. :D
"Everyone wants to be found."

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