Somewhere (2010)

10 December 2010

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Somewhere. From Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette), Somewhere is a witty, moving, and empathetic look into the orbit of actor Johnny Marco (played by Stephen Dorff).

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?

Filmed entirely on location, Somewhere reunites the writer/director with Lost in Translation editor Sarah Flack and production designer Anne Ross. Stacey Battat (Broken English) is the costume designer, and Harris Savides (Elephant) is the director of photography, on Somewhere .

A Focus Features presentation in association with Pathé Distribution, Medusa Film, and Tohokushinsha of an American Zoetrope production. Somewhere . Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning. Music Score, Phoenix. Costume Designer, Stacey Battat. Film Editor, Sarah Flack, A.C.E. Production Designer, Anne Ross. Director of Photography, Harris Savides, ASC. Executive Producers, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Rassam, Fred Roos. Producers, G. Mac Brown, Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola. Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola. A Universal Pictures Release.

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"although the film is touching in parts, it really did feel as boring as real life is, even in the glamorous world of Hollywood"

The film industry loves making films about making films and audiences love it too, giving us mere mortals a glimpse into the real Hollywood. The latest fly on the wall style Hollywood story from Academy Award Winner Sophia Coppola introduces us to Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a hard living actor who is seemingly fed up with the Hollywood lifestyle, his life has become so meaningless to him, that even driving his luxury super cars through the desert and regular pole dancers in his bedroom do not excite him anymore, seemingly the life has gone out of this handsome young star. That is until his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) comes for a visit and lights up Johnny's world as he starts to enjoy 'normal' everyday things like playing computer games together and cooking breakfast.

At the heart of the film is an emotionally charged story about belonging and finding your true place in life. As the film unfolds it becomes clear that Cleo isn't happy with her living arrangements; her mum disappears and she is seemingly left with no one, which leads Johnny to make some life affirming choices.

The film has all the classic signs from a Coppola film, the long, drawn out scenes, single camera shots, quiet, almost pointless scenes of mundaneness, the endless walking through the model clad corridors of The Chateaux Marmont, and a whole scene dedicated to Johnny smoking an entire cigarette in his room on his own.

At times for me this lingering obsession of Coppola's with trying to show, as she did in Lost In Translation, that the 'mundane' is interesting, seems to be the films only angle. The story line is quite simplistic, not a great deal happens and no real drama unfolds. For me, if the World did not already have Lost in Translation, maybe Somewhere would seem a touch more original, as it is, Somewhere felt like the same film, only shot in Hollywood instead of Tokyo, where a lost, has been, actor discovering a new sense of life through a young daughter like figure, is replaced by Stephen Dorff's lost, drying up actor, rediscovering a new sense of life through his actual daughter. Although the film is touching in parts, it really did feel as boring as real life is, even in the glamorous world of Hollywood, the film seemed to highlight perfectly, how routine and empty, we suspect a movie's star's life really is, and if that was Coppola's intention, then she achieved it very well, i just wish it had been slightly more interesting.

Somewhere is a triumphant return to form for Stephen Dorff however, and similarly his adorable co star Elle Fanning looks set to have a wonderful acting career, hot on the heels of her sister Dakota Fanning, she will definitely be one to watch.

While the film gives out a message of hope, it is slow moving and at times it feels like time has stopped, so it is no surprise that the semi autobiographical latest offering from writer/director Sofia Coppola will no doubt divide audiences.

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