Somewhere

Sofia Coppola, spawn of mega-talented director Francis Ford Coppola, has honed her own writing and directing talent over the years. The films she writes tend to be personal: with The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, and now Somewhere, she has offered viewers her own view of the world. Her films are sparse in dialog and rich in analytical thought. She described Somewhere as the most low-stress, pleasant shoot she’s had.

In Somewhere, Stephen Dorff portrays Hollywood star Johnny Marco. He’s a hot, young actor, living in the star-studded Chateau Marmont in LA, and living the life, but not having much fun. After we get inside Johnny’s head we are introduced to his eleven-year-old daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning. The film focuses on the story of the two characters and their relationship, especially while living in the unique and lonely world of Hollywood and stardom. This surprise visit ultimately shakes Johnny and wakes him up. After Cleo leaves, he’s faced with the fact that he has to make a change, to go somewhere, he’s just not sure where.

Comments

Loved this movie. Coppola's trademark slow pacing crawls to a near standstill (which may bore some viewers—Lost in Translation feels like a thriller by comparison), but I felt the languid flow of the film suited the drifting psyche of the main character, Johnny Marco, as he floats through his life, unattached, uninvolved and uninterested, even in his own daughter, it seems. Sounds dull, but for me at least, his low-key, day-to-day existential struggle is fascinating to observe as he moves through the other-world of Hollywood and the rotating sideshow of the Chateau Marmont in particular. This is highly self-aware film-making; Coppola pushes forward many familiar cinematic storytelling tropes, yet few of her key scenarios develop as you might expect, many of them intentionally petering out without the anticipated firm resolution or big cathartic moment. In places it feels empty and frustrating, but taken as a whole the film feels somehow beautifully, delicately balanced. This is Coppola's anti-movie: it's not much like a movie, but it's a lot like real life.


Any fans of Coppola should also check out CQ, directed by her brother Roman. It's more plot driven, faster paced and pulpy, but has the same sort of look to it and a bit of the feel.