Sophia Coppola’s new film entertains but falls short Somewhere
Culture / February 8, 2011
By Carlie Auclair
[health bureau chief]
It has been close to five years now since Sophia Coppola’s post modern biopic, Marie Antoinette, hit the theatres.
Despite its unsavory reviews and evident lack of plot I have waited with bated breath for Coppola’s next quirky minimalist adventure; and we definitely get that with her latest film. Somewhere takes us into the life of a thirty- something super actor, who lives in the iconic Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles. For those of you unfamiliar with this popular landmark; it is a famous hotel on the sunset strip that, over the years, has become favorite for many big name celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Jim Morrison, Jim Belushi, Britney Spears (who is currently banned from the hotel for smearing her dinner on her face) and many more. In the eyes of the public, the infamous landmark has become a place of glamour, intrigue, and fantasy- a perfect backdrop for Coppola’s meditation on the mythical California lifestyle.
The movie starts with probably the most awkward scene in the whole film, and trust me there are many. We are taken to a dirt speedway placed in the middle of a desert, where for probably a good five minutes, we see a black Ferrari drive around in, what feels like, endless circles. I understand what the director was trying to do by starting her audience off with intense minimalistic voyeurism but in the context of a movie theatre, it didn’t work.
The Ferrari finally stops and we are taken into the over privileged emotionally constipated life of Johnny Marco, played by Stephen Dorff-whose charm and sincerity allowed him to do an excellent job, playing a spoiled and emotionally vacuous celebrity with a heart of gold. The film shows you the world as seen through Johnny Marco’s eyes, and when he is not entertaining bronzed stripper twins in his suite, or following attractive young women with his car down Sunset Boulevard, he is staring wistfully out his balcony pondering the meaning of his ennui filled life.
Elle Fanning arrives at the arc of the plot as the mature but innocent doe eyed daughter of Johnny Marco, Cleo.
The two find comfort in the silence of each others’ presence as they lie side by side in matching sunglasses and lounge chairs, soaking up the warm afternoon sunshine. It also helps that the moment is highlighted by the innocently sweet signature song of the movie, (a piano version of You Only Live Once by The Strokes).
Somewhere finds its place between the brilliance of Lost in Translation and the disappointment of Marie Antoinette.
I give Somewhere a B- for its attempts on finding meaning in the seemingly endless world of boredom and emptiness the bourgeois seem to face in the world of movies.