Sean K. Cureton

Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Directed by Sofia Coppola
3 out of 4 stars

Towards the end of every year, there are a number of films that are released with the hopes of being considered for Golden Globe and Oscar recognition for the previous year, despite the fact that they could very easily have been released within the beginning of the next year. Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is a film that seems to fall into that category. While it was technically released in 2010, Somewhere was released so late in the year that many theatre goers may have not seen it before the end of 2010. However, given that it is a Sofia Coppola film, the judges of the Oscars will certainly put it under consideration, as it is obviously a film of substance.

But regardless of whether or not Ms. Coppola was trying to get her film released in time for the 2010 award season, it still stands that Somewhere may not in fact be one of the best films of the year. While being a very interesting film, and a film that keeps the audience’s attention for the full 97 minutes allotted to it, Coppola’s Somewhere, despite being a well directed and interesting film, just doesn’t feel like a great film, especially when compared to other films released in 2010, like Black Swan, True Grit, or The Social Network.

While Coppola’s character study of Johnny Marco, a young and misanthropic actor played by Stephen Dorff, is interesting, it is also very empty and leaves much to be desired. The point of the matter is that Somewhere doesn’t seem to be about anything at all. Much of the film feels like a dragged out character description of Johnny, who is quiet frankly, an asshole bum who would be hard to watch if it were not for Ms. Coppola’s superb directing ability. Without a plot, the viewer is instead shown a series of events in Johnny’s life, including various parties, sequences of Johnny driving his sports car, and two very long and somewhat awkward scenes of Johnny watching strippers.

Luckily, Ms. Coppola did not force her viewers to watch Johnny alone, but also included his daughter Cleo, played by Elle Fanning, whose relationship with her father partially makes up for Johnny’s lack of ambition. The scenes with Johnny and his daughter, which largely make up the second half of the film, are great in that they seem to offer some kind of narrative to follow, even if it is not a very complete one.

All in all, Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere is a good film, but not a great film, nor one of the best films of the year. It certainly seems to situate itself among the better films of the year, but does not quiet cut it as one of the best. Released in 2011, who knows how it might have fared come award season, but the fact is that 2010 has produced some of the best films in a long time, and Somewhere just doesn’t seem to measure up to some of the other films of 2010. If you haven’t seen Somewhere, you should see it, as it is certainly a fine example of great film making, but do not expect another Lost in Translation. Just enjoy Somewhere for what it is: another example of how talented Sofia Coppola is as a director.


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