Review: Somewhere

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.

Review: Somewhere




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.