Somewhere

Several years ago, I saw Sofia Coppola’s critically acclaimed film, Lost in Translation. Although it had some funny moments, I nevertheless found it a bit dull. So I had some trepidations about seeing her latest film, Somewhere.

It portrays several weeks in the life of a film actor, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff). Like the Bill Murray character in Lost in Translation, Johnny is a celebrity who lives in a state of ennui. (He is so jaded that he falls asleep while making love to a woman he just met.) His estranged wife suddenly leaves his daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), with him, telling him he must take care of her until it is time for her to go to summer camp. The two of them spend time together. After he sends her off to camp, Johnny undergoes a crisis. The experiences he had with his daughter made him realize how emotionally empty his life is. Johnny decides to change his life, though the ambiguous ending doesn’t make clear how he will do that.

As in Lost in Translation, there are many scenes in which little or nothing happens. The danger in making a film about a bored character is that boredom is, well, boring. The Japanese setting of Lost in Translation provided that film with some exotic color. Since Somewhere mostly takes place in Los Angeles, it lacks that quality. However, the pacing is a little quicker, so it doesn’t drag the way the previous film sometimes did.

I’m told that Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette (which I didn’t see), also deals with ennui. I must admit that my empathy for bored rich people is limited. Coppola clearly possesses skill as a director. It would be nice if she were to make a film that deals with a more engaging and compelling topic.

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