By: Jenna Zine (Two Beers) -
Somewhere is a slow but thought-provoking peek behind the scenes of what it’s really like to be a movie star, directed by Sofia Coppola – herself a bona fide celebrity. The film follows Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) as he transitions from hapless actor to loving father of his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning).
Super-star Johnny suffers a minor injury early in the film, giving him an excuse to soak up the luxurious hotel life while he recuperates. He casually enjoys the perks, until his ex appears in the midst of a mild emotional breakdown and needs to leave their daughter with him. This simple (and never expounded upon) plot device allows Cleo to inhabit his life more thoroughly than before.
The legendary Chateau Marmont serves as the backdrop for this quiet story of celebrity and existential angst. The hotel almost acts an additional character to the film – it was apparent that longtime employees had been looped in as extras, giving the casting additional believability. I appreciated Sofia’s deft hand – she was able to strip away the glamour of an actor’s job, while still imbuing the story with a heightened sophistication.
Father and daughter time coincides with a swanky awards ceremony.
The film’s languid pace is not for everyone, therefore I feel this rating is more subjective than most. I thought it was worthy of a toast, while others may down a six-pack while waiting for something to happen. The layered simplicity of the plot, combined with a distinct lack of action, harkens back to a seventies-era piece.
It’s difficult to review a Coppola film without bringing up Sofia. Few directors have such a storied history, combined with high expectations, looming over them than her. I found myself thinking as much about her life as the characters she brought to the screen. But this is Sofia’s gift. She’s been privy to a wealth most of us will never experience – and therefore her subject matter rings true.
Director Sofia Coppola, engaged in her vision.
The pole-dancing twins are none other than Kristina and Karissa Shannon, real-life exes of Hugh Hefner, who got booted from the Playboy Mansion for their sketchy past. And yes, Stephen Dorff dated one of them while filming – though I’ll be damned if I know which one of the girls snagged that prize!
Jackass star Chris Pontius makes a surprise appearance in a main role. I find his casting interesting, given that Sofia used to be married to Jackass film producer and famed director Spike Jonze. Reportedly their divorce centered heavily around her unhappiness with his alleged immaturity…
The band Phoenix, which features Sofia’s second husband, who’s the father of their two children, provides the musical backdrop for the soundtrack.
The Shannon twins give a lesson in class.
A beautiful film, if you’re willing to put in the time. Not Sofia’s strongest offering to date, but a lovely addition to her growing oeuvre nonetheless.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Johnny sits alone and stares into space.
Take a drink: every time Johnny bed-hops.
Take a drink: every time Cleo does something endearing.