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Review: Somewhere

Somewhere
01.19.2011
7 10

PLOT: Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is an American film star promoting his latest film, while holed up at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. His life is a meaningless series of interviews, casual sex, and boozing. While bored, Marco seems content, until getting a visit from his eleven-year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning).

REVIEW: Many have called SOMEWHERE Sofia Coppola’s comeback film after her last; MARIE-ANTOINETTE bombed both with critics and at the box-office. To be sure, SOMEWHERE finds Coppola in similar territory to LOST IN TRANSLATION, with her once again examining the ennui of the privileged, although perhaps MARIE-ANTOINETTE wasn’t that much of a stretch after all, as what were the pre-French Revolution monarchy if not privileged?


SOMEWHERE actually makes a pretty good companion piece to LOST IN TRANSLATION, with this once again featuring a movie star in crisis. Rather than the middle-aged Bill Murray, we get the younger Stephen Dorff. Of course, Dorff is no Bill Murray, but he’s actually quite good here, with him not having a role of this caliber in about ten years.

His Johnny Blanco is your typical Hollywood bad-boy, although, fitting with Coppola’s seemingly rose-tinted view of Hollywood (perhaps unavoidable being the daughter of a legend like Francis Ford Coppola), there’s never any doubt that Blanco’s got a heart of gold. We follow him around on a semi-comical press junket for his film; which involves unbelievably dumb questions about how often he works out, and whether his dopey action movie is actually a critique of globalization.

The film’s story, what little of it there is, only kicks in once we meet his eleven-year old daughter, Cleo. While absent for most of her life, we’ve never any doubt that Marco loves her, and he takes her on a trip to Milan, where they bond over gelato, and a trip to a cheesy Italian awards show, that’s more than a little reminiscent of the silly Japanese talk show Bill Murray, was on in LOST IN TRANSLATION.


One thing that needs to be addressed is that SOMEWHERE is not for everyone. This is really an art film, even more so than LOST IN TRANSLATION. The best way to describe it would be to say it’s like an episode of ENTOURAGE as directed by Antonioni. To some that may sound unbearably pretentious, and maybe SOMEWHERE is guilty of that to a degree. Not much happens, and I did find it a little tiresome that we’re supposed to feel bad for a rich movie-star who feels like he’s wasting his life. Wow, I suppose one can only feel that way while sitting in the penthouse at Chateau Marmont, right? Starting each day with a heavy dose of Propecia, some anti-depressants, and booze, I suppose we’re supposed to pity Blanco, but I didn’t for a second. When your life’s biggest problem is that you’re losing your hair, and are a little bored, I don’t think things are going too badly. Still, I enjoyed SOMEWHERE for what it is- which is essentially an exercise in style.

Despite very little happening over the ninety minute running time, I didn’t find it boring. It’s well shot, and Dorff is good enough to make me hope he starts popping up in higher profile fare again. Being a Sofia Coppola movie, SOMEWHERE also has a killer, oh so hip soundtrack, composed by Phoenix. While it lacks the charm of Bill Murray, or the brilliance of THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (which is unquestionably her finest work) SOMEWHERE is still a film worth seeing if you’re a fan of Coppola’s. While I don’t think it deserved to win best film at the Venice Film Festival (over BLACK SWAN!!!), it’s an interesting film, although I’d like to see Coppola branch out into new territory with her next film.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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9:16PM on 01/19/2011
One of the best films of the year.
One of the best films of the year.
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+3
12:52PM on 01/19/2011
I really liked Somewhere. While I understand the complaints I don't feel they're entirely justified. I think what we're getting here isn't a sympathetic look at an actor, but a look at an actor.

There are similarities to be made between him and us. He's got a family that has problems he's not entirely happy with his job, etceteras. He's human. But he does live a heightened life and that's the twist. An actors life is pretty boring. Dropping your daughter off at camp in a helicopter is
I really liked Somewhere. While I understand the complaints I don't feel they're entirely justified. I think what we're getting here isn't a sympathetic look at an actor, but a look at an actor.

There are similarities to be made between him and us. He's got a family that has problems he's not entirely happy with his job, etceteras. He's human. But he does live a heightened life and that's the twist. An actors life is pretty boring. Dropping your daughter off at camp in a helicopter is crazy cool. But here it's just part of the day. We almost forget that he's special. We have to be reminded.

Like I say, I understand this movie is not for everyone. But I think if you're going to watch a movie like this, Coppola, Antonioni, or Tarkovsky, filmmakers who don't go for the standard 3 act structure and who are more interested in ideas, feelings and life, then you have to be willing to put in the work. You can't just go and expect the movie to do the work for you. It's not often we get the chance to see what it's actually like to be an actor. We're only ever sold the red carpet and interviews. Sympathy isn't required for this movie, understanding is.
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10:58AM on 01/19/2011
Your usually spot on with reviews, but this movie was shit! SHIT! 4 or 5 out of 10 tops
Your usually spot on with reviews, but this movie was shit! SHIT! 4 or 5 out of 10 tops
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10:12AM on 01/19/2011

I thought it was solid...

I think the subject matter, or seemingly sympathetic view on celebrity (which I don't think is the case here) is what turns people off from the film... well, the pace and lack of dialog probably don't help either. I think its great work and there's more there than meets the eye. Its the kind of film I really enjoy but wouldn't recommend.

PS - Cheers to JoBlo for activating the comments on Reviews!
I think the subject matter, or seemingly sympathetic view on celebrity (which I don't think is the case here) is what turns people off from the film... well, the pace and lack of dialog probably don't help either. I think its great work and there's more there than meets the eye. Its the kind of film I really enjoy but wouldn't recommend.

PS - Cheers to JoBlo for activating the comments on Reviews!
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-4
10:00AM on 01/19/2011

Blanco?

I saw the film and don't remember a character named "Blanco". Did I miss something?
Also, this thing was "blah". I enjoyed the interactions of Johnny and Cleo, but we could have gotten the same effect in a 15 minute short.
Seemed more like a DVD extra for a film that could have been. Just sayin'.
I saw the film and don't remember a character named "Blanco". Did I miss something?
Also, this thing was "blah". I enjoyed the interactions of Johnny and Cleo, but we could have gotten the same effect in a 15 minute short.
Seemed more like a DVD extra for a film that could have been. Just sayin'.
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9:03AM on 01/19/2011
I'm with you on the rating and on the feelings about it. It's kinda good, but it's also kinda boring at the same time. I feel Sofia Coppola wasted this opportunity to tell a more interesting story between father and daughter.
I'm with you on the rating and on the feelings about it. It's kinda good, but it's also kinda boring at the same time. I feel Sofia Coppola wasted this opportunity to tell a more interesting story between father and daughter.
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