DVD Review - Somewhere

Somewhere is a minimalist, mood piece that is a slice of one man's life. It's mainly a slice of his life inside a hotel, the Chateau Marmont, a French-inspired, luxury hotel on Sunset Boulevard. It's one of the most famous hotels in Hollywood, but the movie is more about the mundane and quite unglamorous events that can occur there. In turn, we get a feeling of the mundane and quite unglamorous things that are also a part of Hollywood.

In certain ways, this movie that Sofia Coppola wrote and directed is like her Oscar-winning film Lost in Translation (2003). The big difference is that this movie doesn't have Bill Murray who is so extremely likeable and funny as the lead. The lead character instead is played by Stephen Dorff. Dorff is Johnny Marco, a Hollywood actor, a guy with success who is currently taking a break due to a stunt injury while filming his latest movie.

Marco's daughter, Cleo, played by Elle Fanning, visits for a few days. Up until her arrival, Marco seems like he's burned out or highly disconnected. Early in the movie, he enjoys two synchronous pole-dancers but later during a sex act he falls asleep. It looks as if he's basically just wandering through his existence. Cleo, however, helps to focus him. The first shot of her is in fact the camera focusing on her from a blurry image, the point-of-view of Marco as he wakes from a sleep.

What isn't clear is the state of Marco and Cleo's relationship prior to her arrival. Over the course of the movie, there is a bonding as it were. The two grow closer. It's assumed that maybe there was some distance before, some alienation, but Coppola doesn't give her characters dialogue that dig that deep.

But, just because this movie lacks Bill Murray doesn't mean it's lacking in humor. Coppola takes us into a photo shoot, a press junket, a plaster molding of Marco's head, an Italian Award show and even a near-nude massage-session that are brimming with awkwardness and utter ridiculousness that had me laughing. They're hilarious because of how they're portrayed as at times weird and random and again as mundane and unglamorous. It speaks of an honesty that would come from any comedian taking aim at Hollywood like Bill Murray or Larry David.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for sexual content and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.


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