Tweet I don’t know why was I expecting to see something complex, something extraordinary but at the same time simplistically beautiful. Something round-about but minimalistically elaborated with the always elegant touch Mss Coppola’s generous budgets allow. Instead my disappointment reached even higher levels when I went to see Sofia’s “Somewhere” a couple of days ago.
Hedonistic, highly contemplative with her very personal bourgeois naivety … just like Sofia likes it. Far away from the baroque Maria Antoinette, closer to the intelligent philosophy of Lost in Translation, but definitively extremely self-indulgent. “What can I do with my camera today?” Waking up thinking you’re inspired in the Jonze house must be very dangerous. “I know! This year I’ll go for a Hollywoodish costumbristic reflection”.
It has her touch, you can’t deny it… her awkward & comical scenes taken from a virtuous mind… (like the pole dancing twins ala “lip my tockings” from LIT), the constant sexual exploitation of the naive woman (and not so naive), the eternal lengthy scenes (we all know she’s one of the best video landscape gardeners out there) … even a brief satire about the current Berlusconian TV world. But there’s no real substance, despite all the subtle ambiguities & secret messages, despite all those winks to her fellow superstar colleagues with countless cameos…
Because Sofia makes the films for herself, for her own pleasure, for her French touch colleagues (ok, no Air this time but Phoenix instead, some lost Strokes, Gwen Stefani… and little more) and for her CV, not for you, not for me.
You may argue Sofia is cleverly portraying the uncomfortable boredom in Johnny’s lifestyle, perfectly reflected in that 60sec drying mask scene. Exasperating. Is his life and that of those who surround him so empty, so excessively sick? You may empathise with the cold but funny portrayal of the star superficiality, all those evil looks, hate messages, topless women… the boredom that money gives. Sofia doesn’t know what to do with hers, neither do her characters. They traditionally refuse to tell Coppola what they feel, and therefore she can’t really tell us what’s happening, she never has in her previous films where we always had to guess and read between the lines, the problem is that she’s going to the minimalistic extreme with this one.
Stephen Dorff (God bless him for willing to work with Sofia) takes the role of that loopy, silent, “in transition” character. A broken film star named Johnny marco, overheating in LA’s Chateau Marmont hotel who reaches his “existential crisis” after his daughter Cleo (played by Elle Fanning, future Hollywood fetish) unexpectedly arrives when her mother drops her off at Johnny’s hotel room with the rest of the luggage. Their chemistry is tangible, well played by both, but that isn’t enough to shape a valuable and postmodern argument. Nothing is in “Somewhere”.
Many critics say is a poor variation of her majestic & superior Lost in Translation, going nowhere, very slowly. Well, I don’t know if “variation” is way too polite & politically correct way of describing this pantomime. She just attempted to create a self-caricature of her past movies, and she succeeded.
Disappointing? Yes. Beautiful? Always, as everything she does.