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Somewhere

Somewhere is one of the lesser known work of Sofia Coppola. It passed under the radar, even if this is the one that won a Golden Lion. While it tackles themes that are familiar to her, she brings it in a Hollywood setting, choosing an actor and his life as her work's subject. While this isn't a favorite of mine, I feel that this is something whose message is known through the lingering scenes and lack of dialogue that the film brings.

Hollywood actor Johnny Marco is a big shot actor, but is actually alone; he doesn't think much about his life, or life in general. This is evident with his place of residence, the people he surrounds himself with, and what he does, including those one night stands. The only people that are constant in his life are his friend, his daughter and the estranged relationship he has with his wife. One day, on an unexplained reason, his ex-wife left town, leaving him with his daughters for days. During those moments, he somewhat gets a new lease in life, as he deals with having a new addition to his usual stagnant life, even for just a short time. 

The film depicts the transition from being lifeless to having a new sense of being, as well as forging a parent-child relationship. This was set against a background of a life of a famous actor. These themes are very evident through the various scenes, from the kind of life he leads, his daughter cooking him meals and so forth. I like how it's expressed in actions instead of forming the relationships through dialogue. It makes the cinematography quite graphic. While it made the film seem slow-paced, the lingering scenes, the attention to detail, allowed the movie's themes to blossom, strengthening its themes.

The impact of the transformation, however, is a bit weak. It doesn't jump out of the pages, despite the acting of the characters. I think it may be because it's hard to relate to the protagonist. Yes, there are people like him, people who go through life simply just to go through it, but these are the people that are fighting for a cause, people that go through everyday challenges, have a normal life. Celebrities, I think, are not normal, in the sense of their lifestyle. I guess that's what makes it hard to relate to his dilemma; he's living a good life, and therefore really doesn't have any reason to be that way. Looking at it, it seemed that he chose to live his life that way. He wasn't exactly looking for something new, and he doesn't really seem to mind the life he chose to live. It just changed when something new happened to him. I think that could be the film's weakness, that it doesn't really know what the character wants to do. 

I have to hand it to Stephen Dorff, he played Johnny really well. This is the first work of his that I've seen, and although I'm not that impressed, he fit the role perfectly. He brought a certain lifelessness to his character, but he had a public persona that he was keeping, which he can easily shift to back and forth. He carried his character in such a way that he became conscious of what he did around his daughter, showing signs that he is putting someone before him. His chemistry with his on-screen daughter, Elle Fanning, is also perfect. Fanning played his daughter, Cleo, quite well. She was bubbly and positive, and also played a caretaker to her father, making him realize that there are more things that he should be thinking off.

I don't know if I'm interpreting the film differently, but that's the way I saw it. It's not my favorite work of hers, but if you love her work, I suggest checking this out. It's not flashy, unlike her other works, nor is it shot in great grandeur. However, it has a Hollywood feel to it, as Coppola brings the viewer into a kind of "reality" that an actor might live in, combining his professional and personal life together to bring out his identity. Despite it being slow paced, I liked the scenes with no dialogue, as it shows the beauty that the film is trying to bring out.


Final Word: Somewhere might not be filled with much dialogue, but it is filled with imagery that conveys much more than what can be said.

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius
Director: Sofia Coppola
Year: 2010

Comments

  1. I am a huge Sofia Coppola fan and I enjoyed Somewhere but it definitely isn't my favourite of hers. The cinematography is beautiful (as always) and I agree that the slow pace and lack of dialogue really emphasises the beauty.

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    1. The work might not be as striking the first time around, but the cinematography tends to linger in my mind - it was that beautiful.

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  2. I agree that Stephen Dorff does a really good job; it plays well with his persona in movies. Elle Fanning is also great. I agree that the slow pace fits with the way Sofia Coppola approaches the themes, and for the most part it really works. There are a few sequences that are a bit too obvious (Marco driving in circles), but I liked the approach more than I expected given what I'd heard.

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    1. It's not the flashiest of Coppola's work, but she does approach the theme with ease, and casting Dorff and Fanning as the father-daughter duo was a great decision.

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  3. Somewhere is my favourite film, but I also watch it from the perspective of the child, so it's much more relatable for me -- my dad's not an actor, but there are many parallels to our relationship there. I adore the screencaps you chose here, perfect choices, since I know the film by heart by now. :)

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    1. I think watching it from the perspective of the child does give it a different way of seeing things. Still, it's a good film by Coppola - it might not be my favorite, but it's still a good work of hers.

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