Synopsis: You have probably seen him in the tabloids; Johnny is living at the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. He has a Ferrari to drive around in, and a constant stream of girls and pills to stay in with. Comfortably numbed, Johnny drifts along. Then, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) from his failed marriage arrives unexpectedly at the Chateau. Their encounters encourage Johnny to face up to where he is in life and confront the question that we all must: which path in life will you take?
Release Date: December 17, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Somewhere, by definition, is an unspecified place. Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is experiencing his own moment of being somewhere. As a successful actor and father to an 11 year-old girl, Cleo (Elle Fanning), he is at an impasse with where exactly his life is going, or so we are led to believe. Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere focuses entirely on the journey of Johnny Marco but it never develops into an introspective look at a man who sees a need for change. It glimmers with the possibilities of deep emotional depth and reflection yet never achieves either.
Johnny’s life is far from the glamourous lifestyle of a Hollywood Star. He lives in the Chateau Marmont hotel but this is not a film about the beauty of Hollywood or the idyllic lifestyle those within it live. It actually emphasizes the lonely, mundane, and trivial world of a movie star; making it look like the most displeasing existence one could achieve. Even Johnny has tired of the world. The twin pole dancing strippers he hires at night put him to sleep. The party’s thrown in his room are full of loose women, booze, and pills but he tries to blend into the walls and go unnoticed until someone finds him. The time he spends with his daughter changes his mood slightly but you can tell he does not know her very well. The awkwardness of a father and daughter trying to connect is always apparent but does dissolve as the film carries on. Much of the film is shot in real time which does succeed in placing the viewer in Johnny’s world, as anti-climactic as it may be, so we get an honest look at him as a person. Therein lies the huge problem with the script, Johnny is not an interesting character. His life as an actor dictates what he does and where he is told to go but it does not define Johnny. When Cleo is thrust into it with him she takes well to the change, shows pride in her father, but you can also see how she yearns for a stable life. One where her mother does not take “breaks” and her father is never around. But with a father who does not know himself it is impossible for him to take on the responsibility of his daughter as well.
It is difficult to decipher whether Somewhere is brilliant for its lack of substance, character development, or strong connections between characters because it reflects so much of what actually exists in the bubble that is Johnny’s life. To have made him more of something would feel like a cliche cheat for the viewer and would have produced yet another stereotypical film about a damaged movie star. Coppola alternatively shows a man who lacks substance but flickers with the possibility of more thanks to his daughter. The film does not succeed in creating empathy nor should it because there is no reason to emphasize with Johnny. His life consists of his own choices, in both his career and his family, and it is only his doings that may change this if he wants it too. The film may have many faults but it is clear it is a very personal film, made on a small scale, with the intention to leave the viewer questioning exactly why looking at someone like Johnny Marco was important–maybe not all characters have to be important to make an impact.
As an LA-story this movie is all about Los Angeles/Hollywood. The humor is derived from inside jokes that those who live here, or are very familiar with this place, will see, hear, and enjoy. The apple box at a photo session, the making of a head mold for a role, or the call from a publicist to wake up an actor who is already late. My favorite, the box of Propecia in the bathroom. Do not expect direct comedy from the dialogue or character actions as you will be disappointed. You just have to go in with a background in all that is the industry and see what strikes you as funny. You will find something, and others may find more, but in the end you are bound to have laughed a little.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Sophia Coppola
- Producer(s): Sofia Coppola
- Screenwriter(s): Stephen Dorff (Johnny Marco)Elle Fanning (Cleo)
- Cast: Sarah FlackHarris SavidesAnne Ross
- Cinematographer: Phoenix
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA