Somewhere (15)



Drama (2010)
97mins US

Starring: Michelle Monaghan, Elle Fanning, Stephen Dorff, Benicio Del Toro, Laura Ramsey, Chris Pontius
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer(s): Sofia Coppola
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Film star Johnny Marco has taken up permanent residence in room 59 of the Chateau Marmont hotel, where he breaks up the tedium of his days off set with a drive in his black Ferrari. Out of the blue, Johnny's old flame dumps their daughter Clio at his door, just as he is poised to leave for Milan to accept an award. As he spends time with the youngster, Johnny realises the emotional vacuum in his so-called life.

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LondonNet Film Review
Somewhere

Success is a double-edged sword...

Somewhere. © 2010 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDWhile it affords you greater opportunities, it can also create unreasonably high expectations that set you up for the inevitable fall from grace. In 2003, writer-director Sofia Coppola was the toast of Tinseltown for her bittersweet romance Lost In Translation. The film collected numerous awards including an Oscar for Best Original screenplay and nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Three years later, the adulation turned to boos at the Cannes Film Festival when the local audience reacted angrily to her visually dazzling portrait of Marie Antoinette. For her fourth feature, Coppola touches on some of the same themes as Lost In Translation, exploring the internal strife of a Hollywood actor who is caught off guard by a surprise visit from his 11-year-old daughter. In the same way that the writer-director revived the faltering career of Bill Murray, she now resurrects Stephen Dorff, providing him with a meaty role as a soulless man, who turns on the charm when the cameras are rolling.

Film star Johnny Marco (Dorff) has taken up permanent residence in room 59 of the Chateau Marmont hotel and breaks up the tedium of his days off set by going for a drive in his black Ferrari. A private performance from pole-dancing twins sends him to asleep rather than arousing his ardour and he has to use a wooden step for a photo shoot with a statuesque co-star (Michelle Monaghan). In one of the film's entrancing and almost wordless scenes, Johnny sits motionless as three make-up artists encase his head in plaster to create a mould. Rhythmic breathing through two nostril holes and the occasional swallow break the silence. Out of the blue, Johnny's old flame dumps their daughter Clio (Elle Fanning) at his door, just as he is poised to leave for Milan to accept an award. As he spends time with the youngster, Johnny realises the emotional vacuum in his so-called life.

Somewhere. © 2010 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDSomewhere is a gently paced snapshot of life in celebrity-obsessed Los Angeles that proves Dorff is a compelling screen presence, given the right material. Screen chemistry with Fanning is convincing and there are some amusing and tender interludes like the hunky masseur, who shocks Johnny mid-session by stripping off so that he is "on the same level" as his client. Johnny's disconnect from reality sometimes stretches credibility, like when he asks Clio about the book she's reading. "It's about this girl and she's in love with this guy. And he's a vampire... his whole family are vampires," she responds, mystified like us that a star in the Hollywood firmament hasn't heard of Twilight. Coppola attempts another heart-rending farewell, similar to Lost In Translation, and almost pulls it off. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

- Kim Hu


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