I read reviews for "Somewhere" that often ranged from discouraging to high-praise. It makes me worry when I find a film such as this one; a film which some love, and some just plain hate. But I had to see it. It was directed by Sophia Coppola, who made "Lost in Translation"; one of my favorite films. "Somewhere" does not come anywhere near the quality and sweet sentimentality of "Lost in Translation", but as a follow-up to the equally-as-whimsical "Marie Antoinette", it's a pretty damn satisfying work.
I understand the criticism. People will say that the film "drags on for much too long" and it is "boring". Maybe they are right. Maybe "Somewhere" is boring. Maybe it does drag on for longer than most films care to. I'm willing to admit to all of these things; but I'm also willing to admit to my sneaky admiration for the picture. It will divide audiences for sure, but I find a certain beauty and appeal to "Somewhere", warts and all.
What I find preposterous is when people say it's "one of the worst films they have ever seen". When I hear these ridiculous comments, I can't help but wonder how long these people have been "watching movies". You need to be open-minded to enjoy "Somewhere"; a mercilessly slow-paced and observant film that does things without even moving. I think that the people who absolutely hate, hate, HATE the movie have been watching too much Hollywood features. But of course, they deny enjoying those ones too.
Johnny (Stephen Dorff) is an actor. He has wealth. He's a womanizer. His life-style itself is seductive, he gets to stay in cool places, and he's content as far as he knows. He also has a daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), who doesn't see him much (probably due to his life-style). Johnny doesn't know what it's like to raise a child, which is probably why he separated from Cleo's mother. There's also a chance that he doesn't know how to raise himself.
Cleo comes to stay with Johnny after her mother "goes away for a while"...somewhere. Johnny and Cleo are very much acquainted, but not in the sense that they could have a real, human relationship. However, Johnny, feeling a bit melancholic and empty, agrees to take Cleo with him on trips, to award shows, and wherever else his exploits may take him. And right there, you have the entire film.
Now this is art. "Somewhere" explores a cinematic style that is seldom touched upon; the approach of using one-shot for several minutes-to-several seconds, the approach which requires a slow pace and lots of observation. But suppose you are as observant as "Somewhere" is. If you are, then it is for you. Fanning and Dorff do exceptionally well in their roles; Dorff being mildly sympathetic for most of the film, while Fanning gets along by just playing a perfectly believable pre-teen. Some call the characters "undeveloped" and "unrelatable", and thus they cannot sympathize for them. But few deny that the performances here are very worthwhile, because acting is one thing that is too often beyond opinion.
The visual style is hypnotic; and adds a layer that "Somewhere" really needed. However, what really had me sticking with the flick was the portrayal of an actor's life-style; and this film serves as one of the deepest (if not bleakest) on-screen depictions of the former. "Somewhere" desires to be a film which exists not to entertain, not to please, but to stimulate the viewer in a number of intellectual ways. I don't think that the people who dislike the film are the dumb ones; the dumb ones are the ones who can't stand it to the point where, say, they'd claim it's one of the worst things out there. It's not. Its art; a work of it, and a product of a woman who knows how to use a movie-camera for great purposes. "Somewhere" is provocative and challenging; not for everyone, not for a good number of people, but interesting and captivating none-the-less. Do I recommend it? Well, that's for some other day.
“Somewhere” opens on a long, long shot of a Ferrari going solo around a racetrack, over and over again. This is both the central metaphor for the film – it’s about a youngish movie star going nowhere, but doing it in style and with power – and the stylistic template for the movie. The scene says to us, “we are going to watch a lot of things happen for longer than we need to watch them happen. The director’s doing this on purpose. Brace … more
Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” opens with a drawn out shot of a lonely desert road. A black sports car zooms into view, turns a corner, disappears, and after a few seconds, reappears and does the same thing over again. The driver is traveling in circles. This symbolically introduces us to Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a Hollywood actor living a life that goes nowhere other than back in on itself. Holed up in a room in West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, we find a man who drinks … more
SOMEWHERE Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola Starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning Johnny Marco: I’m fucking nothing. I’m not even a person. We are all somewhere. Even nowhere is another form of somewhere, which is good because there is an awful lot of nowhere and nothing going on in Sofia Coppola’s latest attempt at exploring just how mundane life can be, called SOMEWHERE. … more
"Somewhere" opens with a lone Ferrari speeding round and round a dirt track. Not just once or twice either. It just keeps driving. And we just keep watching it. Because we have no choice. Eventually the car's driver emerges, an unshaven shaggy-haired guy we later learn is a Hollywood actor named Johnny Marco. For what I'd estimate is at least 25 minutes, we observe Johnny going about his life with precious little dialogue to interrupt the tedium. We watch … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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You have probably seen him in the tabloids; Johnny is living at the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. He has a Ferrari to drive around in, and a constant stream of girls and pills to stay in with. Comfortably numbed, Johnny drifts along. Then, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) from his failed marriage arrives unexpectedly at the Chateau. Their encounters encourage Johnny to face up to where he is in life and confront the question that we all must: which path in life will you take?