Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning / 2010

Is it cliche for a 20 something girl like me to love Sofia Coppola films? Probably. But whatever. Somewhere, her latest, is slightly different than her previous films. It is especially different from her last--2007's Marie Antoinette, an opulent masterpiece of a biopic. Somewhere is much more minimal, in a lot of senses: the soundtrack is minimal, the dialogue is minimal (although that's become a regular fixture in her films), even the story is minimal. We don't know a lot of details about the characters' lives; Sofia chooses to withhold a lot of information that may to some seem important, and instead gives us an uber-realistic portrait of a slightly estranged relationship between a father and daughter. Shots are long and at times jarring.

As always, Sofia delivers a visually evocative film; it is said that she thinks in terms of images rather than story, and I agree, as I think back on the quietness of certain scenes in all of her films--from The Virgin Suicides to Lost in Translation. Somewhere could be the quietest yet. But the quietness isn't for nothing. It's conveying the awkwardness between a father and daughter who don't usually spend much time together, as well as the emptiness that the father, a Hollywood actor living a solitary life in L.A.'s Chateau Marmont, is feeling.

All in all, Sofia lets the thoughtful motifs she creates speak for themselves, and in doing so challenges viewers to to have a totally different--and gratifying--film experience.

(I should also say that Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning are amazing. They work really well together. Dorff is perfect as the lonely Johnny Marco who is unknowingly searching for meaning in his life. And Fanning as 11 year old Cleo is just, WOW. She can convey so much with a mere look. For a kid, her acting is so subtle and never forced. Really magical.)


clementimes said...

I was so impressed by Elle Fanning. I hope she stays on the straight and narrow, has a long, wonderful career, and doesn't go off the deep end like so many young starlets. She is just so beautiful and talented, amazing!

Rachell Taylor said...

I have been looking forward to this movie for a long time! I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Marisa said...

What an awesome review, very well written. I still haven't seen the movie but I'm hoping to soon.