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. I’m not sure how Coppola, the Academy Award nominated director of LOST IN TRANSLATION and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES manages to get out of bed every morning if this is her view of the world, but at least I can say she knows how to capture that particular feeling of numbness better than most. The trouble is, even that shtick is starting to get boring now.
Stephen Dorff plays an aging movie star named Johnny Marco. It is never really clear just how bright his personal star shines – he is still making movies and he has some international notoriety – but he is stumbling through the motions of success his fame has afforded him. He lives in a hotel, where the party is seemingly never over, and has the same set of stripper twins visit him on a regular basis. These things might seem exciting to some but its all pretty much second hat for Johnny. Coppola uses static shots and repetition to reinforce just how slow everything is moving and how much of it is the same again and again. She makes her point as strongly as she can but I’m not clear how she feels that life being boring is revelatory at this stage. And painting the picture with a celebrity backdrop doesn’t make it any more original.
What does give SOMEWHERE some purpose and heart, albeit strained, is Johnny’s relationship with his 11-year-old girl, Cloe, played with strength and ease by Elle Fanning. Cloe has found herself abandoned by her mother for the summer and has to spend a great deal more time with her father than she is used to. Coppola is smart to allow their relationship to soar in its shared simplicity, whether that be through ice cream indulgence or video game wars, rather than have them just combust in their forced close quarters. Cloe’s increased presence in Johnny’s life is what prompts him to see it for the shallow existence that it is, and even though I did feel a little bad for the guy, I still don’t see why his story mattered any more than any other lonely existence out there.
Thanks for reading. LUNCH rating is out of 10.
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***1/2 out of **** 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 … more
“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" 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
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … 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?