Written & Directed by Sophia Coppola
Sophia Coppola was skyrocketed to fame as a filmmaker with her outstanding film Lost in Translation, which came out in 2003 and earned four Oscar nods, netting Sophia a win in the writing category. Stepping out of her father’s shadow, Sophia proved to be a very promising writer/director. So here is her latest effort, the sparse drama that is Somewhere. And I do think sparse is the best possible way to describe the film.
The story is that of Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), who is a big time Hollywood action star who seems to have everything, and nothing, at the same time. He spends his time partying, having sex with numerous women, drinking, and smoking. He is quite the pathetic character. There is no reason for him to be liked, by anyone. Yet there she is, his daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), who walks into his life once more when her mother disappears for an undetermined amount of time. Now it is up to Johnny to stop his womanizing, his partying, his immatureness and be the parent that Cleo needs. And surprisingly, he does it quite well.
My first reaction to the film when I first walked out of the theater was, “Snoozefest.” This is a very minimal film. With a runtime at 97 minutes it is not very long, but because Coppola lingers on moments of nothingness and there is very little plot progression, it feels much longer. One thing I did appreciate right away was the acting. I felt like Stephen Dorff was fairly well cast as the loser movie star with everything. His delivery matches the style of the film: minimal and somewhat emotionless, but that is his character. Elle Fanning was very natural in her role as the daughter, Cleo. She doesn’t do anything special, but acts her age and does it convincingly.
When I thought about what I would say when I wrote this review I thought I might really like to be very mean and angry at this film for wasting my time as it was not something I thought was worth anything, but as I slept on it and let it breath I think I will refuse to do that. While it is no where near the magic created in Lost in Translation, Somewhere tackles some interesting themes and does so in pondering way. It is not something I think would improve with multiple viewings and not something I would ever like to revisit, but I don’t think it really is as atrocious as my initial reaction led me to believe.