Somewhere | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

Somewhere 

Pity Party: Why should we care about Somewhere's existential despair?

Pin It
Favorite
Elle Fanning, Stephen Dorff - SOMEWHERE
  • Somewhere
  • Elle Fanning, Stephen Dorff
Pity poor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), the protagonist of writer/director Sofia Coppola’s infuriatingly empty-headed Somewhere. Sure, he may be an international movie star who gets to jet off to Italy and stay in a suite with its own swimming pool. But his days and nights are mostly spent on random sexual encounters, or renting pole dancers to put on private routines in his room at Los Angeles’ legendary Chateau Marmont or generally milling about smoking and drinking alone.

Lucky for him that he has an 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), who is about to be dropped off when her mother, Johnny’s ex, needs some alone time. She provides him someone with whom he can spend some redemptive time playing Guitar Hero and having pretend underwater tea parties before being left alone again to contemplate the emptiness of the rest of his life.

Coppola—who traveled in similar sad-celebrity territory much more effectively in Lost in Translation—packs into her 90-minute running time plenty of meticulously choreographed long takes of Johnny drifting on an air mattress in a pool or staring pensively into the distance, allowing ample opportunity for viewers to wallow in Johnny’s existential despair. But Dorff’s performance is far too shallow to allow insight into Johnny’s shifting priorities, nor can he make his inevitable sobbing breakdown feel like anything but a mediocre actor playing at what he thinks real catharsis looks like. Meanwhile, Fanning’s considerable effortless charms and thousand-watt smile are wasted on a role that’s little more than a plot device for Johnny’s awakening.

It all leads up to a concluding scene that, while intended to be an emotionally satisfying bookend to the can’t-you-just-smell-the-metaphor opening shot, feels as absurdly self-absorbed as Johnny seems to be. “Who is Johnny Marco?” asks a clearly stupid entertainment journalist at a press conference. The better question is, “Why should we care?”

SOMEWHERE

1_5_stars.gif

Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning
Rated R

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

  • How to Intonate a Guitar

    As in a real, honest-to-Jimi electric guitar—not a Guitar Hero controller, kiddies. Setting the intonation on an electric guitar (making it play in tune at every point along the neck) is a simpl
    • Nov 18, 2009
  • Eight-Legged Freaky

    The creepy Deadly Creatures makes perfect innovative use of the Wii.
    • Mar 18, 2009
  • More »

More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Binge No More

    The week-to-week rollout of Disney+ Marvel TV series is building momentum.
    • Apr 7, 2021
  • The Deep End

    French Exit is a delight, as long as it's not trying to strive for profundity.
    • Mar 31, 2021
  • Mr. Show-Off

    Bob Odenkirk expands his repertoire to action hero in Nobody.
    • Mar 24, 2021
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Simple Creatures

    The monster movie Sputnik can't deliver the subtext it promises
    • Aug 12, 2020

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation