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SOMEWHERE

Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning

Johnny Marco: I’m fucking nothing. I’m not even a person.
We are all somewhere. Even nowhere is another form of somewhere, which is good because there is an awful lot of nowhere and nothing going on in Sofia Coppola’s latest attempt at exploring just how mundane life can be, called SOMEWHERE. I’m not sure how Coppola, the Academy Award winning writer/director of LOST IN TRANSLATION and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES manages to get out of bed every morning if this is her view of the world, but at least I can say she knows how to capture that particular feeling of numbness better than most. The trouble is, even that shtick is starting to get boring now.
Stephen Dorff plays an aging movie star named Johnny Marco. It is never really clear just how bright his personal star shines – he is still making movies and he has some international notoriety – but he is stumbling through the motions of success his fame has afforded him. He lives in a hotel, where the party is seemingly never over, and has the same set of stripper twins visit him on a regular basis. These things might seem exciting to some but its all pretty much second hat for Johnny. Coppola uses static shots and repetition to reinforce just how slow everything is moving and how much of it is the same again and again. She makes her point as strongly as she can but I’m not clear how she feels that life being boring is revelatory at this stage. And painting the picture with a celebrity backdrop doesn’t make it any more original.
What does give SOMEWHERE some purpose and heart, albeit strained, is Johnny’s relationship with his 11-year-old girl, Cloe, played with strength and ease by Elle Fanning. Cloe has found herself abandoned by her mother for the summer and has to spend a great deal more time with her father than she is used to. Coppola is smart to allow their relationship to soar in its shared simplicity, whether that be through ice cream indulgence or video game wars, rather than have them just combust in their forced close quarters. Cloe’s increased presence in Johnny’s life is what prompts him to see it for the shallow existence that it is, and even though I did feel a little bad for the guy, I still don’t see why his story mattered any more than any other lonely existence out there.

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