Somewhere

Sophia Coppola directed this fly on the wall account of a frivolous Hollywood actor and the apparent lack of interest he has in his own life as an up and coming star. Sophia’s fascination with loneliness amid isolation is again explored in her 4th film, this time from the perspective of a bad boy star. Johnny Marco is recuperating from a minor injury at the Château Marmont, legendary hotel in West Hollywood, when his 11-year-old daughter shows up there one day for an unscheduled visit.

Honest performances are what make Somewhere so captivating. 11 year old actress Elle fanning conveys a maturity beyond her years in the role of his child. Given her sister’s achievements, is it too early to start labeling her family’s success, an acting dynasty? Stephen Dorff gives possibly his most artistically demanding portrayal since playing Stuart Sutcliffe in Iain Softley’s Backbeat. He has a slightly bemused, world weary response to the business around him. It’s a deceptively passive depiction of few words, but he brings a sincerity to it that I found most compelling.

Much of the credit can also go to Sofia Coppola who obviously directs with first hand knowledge of the material. As the daughter of one of filmdom’s most famous directors, Sophia has a unique window into the world of the privileged. Her story feels intimate and has a gentle take on the life of a spoiled actor. Her condemning the emptiness of the Hollywood lifestyle may seem like biting the hand that feeds her. But even though you think you know where she’s going with the story, it tells its tale with subtlety.

Perhaps subtle is an understatement. Sofia’s narrative definitely takes some patience, At one point our protagonist is fitted for a special effects mold of his face. There is a long uninterrupted shot of him simply breathing through 2 nostril holes within a gooey, plaster mold, covering his head. The scene lingers for over a minute and a half. At first it’s boring but then the purpose slowly works its way into the viewer’s subconscious. This is not just an existence of vacations, parties and sex (although those play a big part too) but of day to day monotony that highlights his apparent dissatisfaction. This is yet another reevaluation of a life, but it seems to creatively tell the tale with a style that is fresh and unparalleled. If you can bask in the drama’s indulgent pace, you’ll walk away from this fable appreciating it. I did.

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2 Responses to “Somewhere”

  1. Such a life celebrities live. Really a life of servitude. Appearances, interviews, award shows, etc. Fame may not be as great as it seems, or least nor in this story. I felt sorry for the character, he seemed so empty. Very well done, and well acted movie.

    • I liked the film, but I’m not sure if I felt sorry for him. He was too self absorbed for that. But I liked how the relationship with his daughter, made him question his lifestyle. It felt very sincere to me.

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