February 20, 2011

Review: Sofia Coppola Goes 'Somewhere' Special

Filmmakers are often punished by the public for sticking to familiar territory. Oscar-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola returns to form with her forth feature, Somewhere. She sticks to similar themes from her previous works, a trilogy featuring lost young women in The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, and Marie-Antoinette.

Boredorm (or "ennui") is a prominent theme. I can see how viewers could find the film boring or restless as not much of real substance seems to unfold over the course of the film. Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a very successful yet aimless actor, who is suddenly put in charge of his 11-year-old daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning. Their bond feels real and sincere. The father/daughter relationship is fleshed out well as Marco puts his existential crisis aside to care for his young daughter.

There are these little moments of pure cinematic bliss. Marco entertains many women including twin strippers who do a very awkwardly amusing pole dance in his hotel room, twice. Coppola's deft touch with the camera and artistic flare shine as Harris Savides' cinematography paints the legendary Chateau Marmont Hotel beautifully.

I really enjoyed the film as with all of Coppola's filmography thus far. She has a lot to say in a minimalist effort that bears her trademark artistry. Scenes and dialogue are wistfully composed with subtle, deft touches. Coppola explores the mundane existence of human realities in interesting, thoughtful ways. The performances by Dorff and Fanning are refreshing and honest.

I found the themes, acting, and direction intriguing and wondrous. The European cinematic style and narrative flourishes are executed with American sensibilities to amusing effect. Somewhere is a film of little moments and gestures. The subtle relationship between Dorff and Fanning are magical in a genuine way, reflecting universal ideas of meaning and substance.

2 reactions:

Rick Chung said...

Great review! I loved this movie. And kept thinking the whole time about how brave a filmaker is to make something that most people just won't get.

Rick Chung said...

Agreed. It really spoke to me. I thought it was a gem.

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