Lost somewhere amongst the flurry of limited December releases is Somewhere, the latest drama from acclaimed filmmaker Sofia Coppola. A movie never intended for mass audiences, Somewhere is an alluring, captivating story of inner turmoil.
In Somewhere, Stephen Dorff plays a bored action star named Johnny Marco who wanders from one situation to the next, whether it's press conferences, award shows, parties or sexual encounters with one of the many beautiful women who fling themselves at him. Lucky bastard.
Despite his fame and fortune, he isn't truly happy unless he's with his 11-year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning), who if anything is wise beyond her years. There's nothing special about their relationship, but he is a lost soul and she gives him a purpose, his only purpose.
There's not much of a plot beyond that, but it's more than enough for Coppola to dig her teeth into. The picture is beautifully directed and superbly written, an intoxicating character study that pleases without actually doing anything for the audience.
Dorff delivers his finest performance in years - not that there's much to compare to - and Fanning continues to reinforce the notion that she may be just as good of an actress as her older sister Dakota. The two have great chemistry together, and that's enough to make Somewhere worth it.
The movie isn't for everyone, though. I've heard a few critics call it boring and aimless, and while I disagree I understand. Somewhere isn't as accessible as Lost in Translation, enthralling as The Virgin Suicides or as bold as Marie Antoinette, but it is perhaps her most engaging film to date.
What you get out of it is in the eye of the beholder, however.
If you like quiet character studies, Somewhere may be the film for you. If not, stay clear. But Somewhere is one of the better movies of 2010 - not an Oscar contender by any means but a strong effort nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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