Somewhere - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Somewhere Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2010
Sofia Coppola is such a sensitive and talented director, and she seems to know well what she is talking about here, taking an interesting look at the meaningless life of an actor among empty pastimes and ephemeral pleasures. A delicate film that observes and shows a lot more than it says.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2014
Among the greatness that was "Lost in Translation," Sofia Coppola directs a very simple, yet elegant film that explores the life of a divorced actor who bnds with his daughter, taking her along on his trips. With many one-shot scenes, you can really immerse yourself in this world with the characters and when a movie can pull that off I love it. The big problem that this film has its that it is very simple and very slow, so I only recommend this film if you are willing to get into a film. Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning are a believable father/daughter duo and nothing about them felt forced, aside from the fact that he is a huge movie star in the film and there are moments where he is able to drive a car around without anyone noticing. This is just a few nitpicks though, because "Somewhere" is a great film. Sofia Coppola has come along way in directing feature films and there is something about every one of her films that intrigues me. "Somewhere" is not a perfect film, but it is something special in my eyes.
Super Reviewer
½ May 2, 2014
While receiving mysterious and threatening text messages, an actor takes care of his daughter.
Slow and unencumbered by sticky inconveniences like plot and character development, Somewhere goes nowhere. The film drifts from one episodic bit of nonsense to the next. All the while, father and daughter enjoy conveniences that no normal person could aspire to, and some mysterious plotline about threatening text messages wanders in on its way to another film.
I never think about Stephen Dorff, but I'm always glad when I see him in a film. For a while, I was compelled by his performance, but when I realized that the film forgot to figure out what its plot is, I stopped caring.
Overall, I'm starting to think that Sofia Coppola's one trick was Lost in Translation, but then there's The Virgin Suicides too, so I guess she's a two-trick pony.
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2013
Sofia Coppola's Somewhere is a slow moving, but nonetheless engaging film for the patient minded audience. For impatient movie goers, this is something to stay away from. By this point in Coppola's career, it's obvious she has a lot of talent. Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides were both excellent films, and Somewhere is a very good addition to her filmography. 

Johnny is a bored, passionless Hollywood actor that has secluded himself at a hotel. He goes out only to do the obligatory duties of his career. His life is changed when his 11 year old daughter stays with him for awhile. He begins to slowly look at what his life has become and reexamine it. 

Somewhere is a movie I enjoyed very much. It has Sofia Coppola's signature atmospheric tone to it, and Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning both give terrific performances. Elle Fanning is the life of the movie, and we see her slowly reinvigorate that life in Dorff's character. This definitely isn't a movie for everyone though, as it seems to be the case with all of Coppola's films. For fans of her style though, this is a definite must see.
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2011
This was so good that I'll give Marie Antoinette another chance... it's a film that's refreshing in that, aside from one ham-fisted apology late in the story, it doesn't spell out the circumstances or dumb down the drama; like in The Virgin Suicides or Lost in Translation, you just watch it unfold and let the silences speak. It's hard not to read a personal narrative into - Sofia Coppola's father is of course also Hollywood royalty - but more simplisitically, it's a simple story about the gap between two people, one of them - the adult - a very detached human being, a sort of passenger in his own life. In all, it's very engaging film-making from a director who keeps getting better. Also: Steven Dorff = Stiffler in a serious role... and it works.
Super Reviewer
½ July 9, 2013
It's admittedly less engaging and much slower than Coppola's other films, however Somewhere is still rewarding and memorable due to Coppola's signature ability to create atmospheric films that continually haunt the viewer. Beautifully filmed, Somewhere is another example of how Coppola doesn't always want to tell a story (arguably you could say nothing really happens in the film) but rather she wants the viewers to experience a moment in time. The film may be empty of any compelling plot, but this is not its purpose. Its purpose is to have the audience experience every moment with these characters. Slow, yes. Boring, it is not. With each static shot, Coppola not only allows her artistic vision to shine, but also draws us in--making us part of these character's lives. Unlike the majority of films that leave us without any emotions or attachment to the characters at all, Somewhere is able to make us feel and make us live in that moment with Dorff and Fanning. Even the simplest shots---with Dorff's character walking about his own dimly lit place at night while a party is happening around him---have the most profound effects on the viewer. Somewhere, even if it is not as brilliant or as exciting as Coppola's other efforts, is still proof that she can, as a director, make us feel something that other films simply cannot.
Super Reviewer
May 2, 2012
The opening shot sets the mood perfectly. Through a static camera, we watch a Ferrari going around and around a track laid out in plain dirt. Around and around. We are becoming as bored as its driver. This movie lets us simmer in its focus, often allowing the camera to run in a scene many times longer than we expect from a modern film. And why not take its time? There is no intricate plot to develop here; we are observing a moment in time, a moment of a man's transition. Without these long shots, we would miss the story. Nothing is sensationalized, allowing us to take in and decide how these moments really feel to both us and the characters and to really see who these characters are. Superficially, this film does resonate with Sofia Copolla's "Lost in Translation," with many similar scenes and personalities. But this film goes deeper into a man's neglected soul and also his neglected daughter who quietly soldiers on with tender grace and love.
Super Reviewer
½ January 13, 2012
I suppose that somewhere (or somewhen) there exists works of art that are the sole creation and vision of the person writing and directing... but so often one person's vision becomes so myopic that the end result is tedious, boring and or blatantly obvious in it's storytelling. "Somewhere" suffers from a non-original idea that at 90 minutes, still needs some serious editing - proving my original premise: it's hard to reign in a film when the same person writes and directs.

Often I felt compelled to hit "fast forward" as dreamy camera scenes panned either in or out - losing a footrace to a glacier. I get it - it's all part of the ennui - ok, the beginning scene made that abundantly clear, so Sophia had no need to continue to hit us over the head with it. I'm thinking that the truth of the matter is that Sophia the writer, didn't have enough of a story for a full fledged major film, so asked Sophia the director to stretch it out a bit. In an odd bit of irony, there are some really bad editing cuts and abrupt fade to black moments - making it abundantly clear that much of the film was being scripted on the fly - little patchwork skits that were badly stitched together... like snapshots of a life Sophia felt compelled to give the rabble a glimpse into.

There's not much novel or even interesting in this expose on stardom. I felt I got more inside scoop watching Entourage for half a season. So much of what was presented were scenes that did nothing more than set the continuing mood, and really had not much to say or add to the narrative. This echoes "Lost In Translation" in the former, but not in the latter - and that's a huge difference. You can follow a method, but you have to have flow and purpose otherwise your effort seems derivative and unprofessionally slapped together. As an art school short subject, this would probably get a passing grade, but as a feature film from a director with some serious cred, you have to see more, otherwise the effort comes off as half hearted at best.

Gee, I guess I'm saying that this film really disappointed me - think I'll take my Ferarri and go in circles for an hour or so - that should make me feel better. As Louise Goffen once so aptly put it in her debut album "sometimes a circle seems like a direction".
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
Sofia Coppola has this impressive depth regarding lifelessness and the emptiness in her films. Much of this film does nothing revolutionary or new, but is still a beatific example of mirroring fame and the consequences. That said, it didn't always work. A lot of this feels like a badly drawn copy of Lost in Translation. Both deals with the nothingness of fame, a girl changes everything they previously thought, and both have the airiness of a home movie. Every scene between our main character and his daughter (Fanning) feel unrehearsed, sincere, and maybe even extemporaneous. Dotting the same scenes of solitude and bright flash bulbs that Translation honed so perfectly, was a lot of cameos. This includes a strangely long set of scenes with Chris Pontius, I think playing himself, and a quick shot of Benicio Del Toro. It also features Michelle Monaghan, Eliza Coupe from Happy Endings, and Ellie Kemper of The Office. Everyone kind of feels misplaced and awkward in accordance with this film, and besides the two stars everyone else feels queer. Stephen Dorff, who is apparently famous, gives a great performance. There isn't very much of a plot, and what does happen has no motivation at all. Elle Fanning, who again portrays the daughter, just kind of shows up in the last hour of the film, and what she gives isn't all too spectacular. The scenes where Dorff is trying to reconnect with Fanning by giving her gifts, playing with her in the pool, and letting her follow him around to see what fame really buys you was pleasant enough. I'm not sure whether this is supposed to show us a contrast between his life with her opposed to alone, or if this film is about them reconnecting and never losing what you hold most dear. There wasn't much to discern from this, like Translation, but at least that ended on a note of hope and mystery. This one is abrupt and that last scene, which is supposed to be full of existential meaning, feels hollow and contrived. It's a beautiful film, as long as there aren't people around to ruin it.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2011
When watching a film this slow, I kinda want to have some sort of story rather than watch repetitive activities for 1h30min. I loved Lost in Translation but thats because there was actually some substance!
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2010
Johhny Marco is a Hollywood movie star and a bit of a hedonistic rogue. Though he has fame, money, and does socialize from time to time, he lives a mostly solitary and isolated existence at the Chateau Marmont Hotel. The film follows him as he spends his time wasting away in suite drinking, popping pills, getting visits from women, and doing typical Hollywood stuff like photoshoots, getting special effects makeup applied, press conferences, and going to an awards ceremony. He gets some pleasure out of it, sure (or we'd like to think), but he's really emptionally gone, burnt out, and most of all, bored. Johnny's life begins to slowly change when he gets an unexpected visit from his daughter Cleo. They start to spend some more time together and these experiences make Johnny re-examine his life, the state it's in, and his purpose.

The film has no real plot, and is instead a character study/mood piece examing Johhny's life, and a side of celebrity that makes them seem as bored and ordinary as the rest of us. Yeah, that's right, this is a study in boredom, and, it's actually better than I was thinking it might be given the mixed reviews. The themes being dealt with are that of ennui (boredom), family, and the hollowness of celebrity. Rather than be a bitter or spieful satire like say Sunset Boulevard, this is a more subdued, and minimilasit look at celebrity life.

Sure, the film is a tad melancholy, but it's not really depressing, and it wisely avoids being overly sentimental with how it depicts Johnny's relationship with his daughter. Oh sure, there's some staples of "bonding" moments, but the film doesn't feel hammy or cliched, and instead kinda seemed a little genuine. Coppola said the film has somewhat inspired by her own life, but that the film was not autobiographical.

It's only 98 minutes long, but as you may have heard, the pace is kinda slow. It's never felt tedious or boring though (to me at least). I have ADHD and I felt rahter engaged . WHat I liked about the movie, but what also made it hard for me to watch, was that I could relate to what I was seeing because my own life is a lot like Johnny's in that I spend a lot fo time alone in my apartment detached from the world and not really doing a whole lot. Just because I got through the film though, doesn't mean everyoen will. It's not for everyone. If you like seeing a film that is relaxed and doesn't feel the need to rush through things, then you might like this. Though he is distant, the film does do a decent job of establishing that Marco is a kinda likeable.

The casting is pretty good, and it all feels very naturalistic and right. Dorff is pretty good as Johnny Marco and conveys the feelings of emptiness and boredom pretty well. He hasn't always been there for his kid, but he does care for her and tries to be a good guy. Elle Fanning is probably the one to watch here though. I like her sister, but this is her coming into her own and she does a good job playing a "showbiz" kid. She has perhaps a bit more worldly wisdom than most 11 years olds, but she still comes off as being a kid who has a lot yet to learn. He's not in it for a whole lot, but Chris Pontius also does a good job as Johnny's old friend Sammy, and it's nice seeing Pontius branch out and do something different than the Jackass type stuff that made him famous. I'd like to see him in more work, especially stuff like this.

All in all, this is a decent movie. I'd give it *ahem* somewhere between a B and a B+. It's one you have to be in the mood for, but if a leisurely pced slice of life story about bordeom sounds like what you want to see ,then go for it. It is admittedly a bit pretentious, but I've seen far more boring, meandering, and pretentious stuff than this, and those things made this seem breakneck, so there.
Super Reviewer
½ December 25, 2010
Johnny Marco is recuperating from a minor injury at the Château Marmont, legendary hotel in West Hollywood, when his 11-year-old daughter shows up there one day for an unscheduled visit. Honest performances are what make Somewhere so captivating. 11 year old actress Elle fanning conveys a maturity beyond her years in the role of his child. Given her sister's achievements, is it too early to start labeling her family's success, an acting dynasty? Stephen Dorff gives possibly his most artistically demanding portrayal since playing Stuart Sutcliffe in Iain Softley's Backbeat. He has a slightly bemused, world weary response to the business around him. It's a deceptively passive depiction of few words, but he brings a sincerity to it that I found most compelling. Even though you think you know where she's going with the story, it tells its tale with subtlety.

Perhaps subtle is an understatement. Sofia's narrative definitely takes some patience, At one point our protagonist is fitted for a special effects mold of his face. There is a long uninterrupted shot of him simply breathing through 2 nostril holes within a gooey, plaster mold, covering his head. The scene lingers for over a minute and a half. At first it's boring but then the purpose slowly works its way into the viewer's subconscious. This is not just an existence of vacations, parties and sex (although those play a big part too) but of day to day monotony that highlights his apparent dissatisfaction. This is yet another reevaluation of a life, but it seems to creatively tell the tale with a style that is fresh and unparalleled. If you can bask in the drama's indulgent pace, you'll walk away from this fable appreciating it. I did.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2011
It's a shame that Sofia Coppola didn't choose a different lead actor for the role of Johnny. No offense, but I just think there are more compelling people to watch sit around with more depth than Dorff. I love the fly on the wall approach and Sofia Coppola does an amazing job of framing this entire world. It's a good thing you can watch these images for hours considering that it feels a lot longer when you are watching it. This is another example of how naturally gifted Elle Fanning is, and after watching her in this and Super 8 am sure I will be watching her for a very long time.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2011
Sofia Coppola's 'Somewhere' is a very moody film that will easily alienate some audiences with it's quiet demeanor and nonexistent charisma. It is a type of film that demands patience from the audience, because Coppola uses skillful cinematography and tone to tell her story instead of dialogue. Dorff gives an especially hypnotic performance, and Fanning does well with what she is given as well. Coppola shows lack of style and substance, but uses mood to craft a very respectable film. The patient should be greatly rewarded.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2010
A slice-of-life drama/mood piece about a successful, womanizing actor who realizes how empty his life truly is during a few days spent with his pre-teen daughter. Don't expect the conflicts and resolutions of a traditional narrative, this is very much a character study. Chances are if you liked Sofia Coppola's other work, you'll like this, too (I certainly did). Coppola described it as a poem, and that description fits well. Standout star Elle Fanning has more talent at a young age than even her famous sister.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2010
This was exactly the film that I needed it to be when I watched it. I know that sentence is a mess, but this film just struck me in all the right ways at the right time. It's just so Zen and chill. I wish I could remember the ending. I know that I loved it, but I do not remember what happened.. That's kind of how the entire film flows. It watches like a slice of these people's lives, like there is no divide between when the camera runs and when it is absent. The acting is subtle and never feels like acting. There's a narrative, but we never feel like we're being directed to some specefic point. It all just flows and does it thing. You almost feel like Coppola was wrote the film as it was shot, or even if there was a script at all. We see every encounter from start to finish. The film does stop with a scene's convenient climax, we get to see the aftermath and it's among the film's most striking elements. I loved the film, it's not for everyone I realize, but I found it to be incredibly poignant.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2010
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, Erin Wasson, Alexandra Williams, Nathalie Fay, Kristina Shannon, Karissa Shannon, Laura Chiatti, Lala Sloatman, Amanda Anka, Michelle Monaghan

Director: Sofia Coppola

Summary: Set amid the hallowed grounds of Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont, this atmospheric dramedy centers on hard-living actor Johnny (Stephen Dorff), whose life is thrown for a loop when his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), pays him a surprise visit.

My Thoughts: "It's a well done character study film. Johnny Marco is a lost soul. He's surrounded by people, but yet still feels very much alone. When his daughter Cleo visits that's when you see life in his eye's. He's not just some shell of life. Being with her makes him realize how empty his life is and that he needs to make changes. Elle Fanning is so good in this movie. I think she fits very well into the Indie flicks. She's a natural. Stephen Dorff really played the part well. It's been awhile since I've seen him in a movie. He was great. This isn't a film for everyone. It's quite slow paced and there isn't a lot of dialogue. But you feel very much like a fly on the wall observing this mans life. You feel the quiet loneliness that surrounds him. The film was enjoyable for me but may be a complete bore for those who do not like these types of films."
Super Reviewer
½ December 22, 2010
"I'm fucking nothing. I'm not even a person."

A hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit.

Somewhere is a film that can be taken on several levels and depending on the willingness of the viewer to tolerate endless moments of stationary stillness it can either be a numbing bore, or it can be an intuitive examination of a life of the rich and famous and vacuous creatures the film industry supports. Given writer/director Sofia Coppola's personal background, it appears to this viewer that she has recreated that second stance.

The setting is the decadent Château Marmont, still a hideaway for stars and spot for manipulative interviews of stars by the nosey media, above Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a world famous movie star whose life is controlled by his PR manager Madge when he is not indulging in wild drunken parties with hired girls (he breaks his wrist early on, leaving him in a small arm cast). He admits to a new actor wannabe that he never trained for acting, that he just was discovered and became successful, leaving education and thinking behind, or drowned in alcohol. His private persona is pathetic, yet there is something about Johnny that attracts a need for companionship. Into this sorry state arrives his 11 year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) who brings a sense of sparkle into Johnny's life: Cleo studies ballet and ice skating and is a mature, genuinely loving and talented daughter. Johnny's ex-wife Layla (Lala Sloatman) informs Johnny (and Cleo) that she is leaving for an indeterminate period of time and Johnny must take Cleo to her summer camp. But Johnny has public appearances and interviews to promote his latest feature film, requiring him to visit Milan, Italy, and Johnny simply takes Cleo along with him. Cleo adjusts well, tolerating the extended periods of ennui and the watching of glamorous women seducing her father, and finds that something in her father that Johnny has lost - a reason to be alive. There is no real beginning to this story and no end - it is just glimpses into a life wasted by self indulgence that has created a man with no purpose, observed by a talented daughter who must face the fact that she likely will be always baggage in the lives of both her parents, at times wanted and at times just as casually discarded.

Stephen Dorff inhabits this empty movie personality's life with surprising accuracy and Elle Fanning continues to prove that she is a growingly capable talent. Sofia Coppola's direction could use some tightening: some frozen scenes or views linger far too long on the screen, seemingly wasting time until the next idea arises. But that can also be a description of the life that has evaded Johnny Marco: there is so little to his real persona that the gaps must be filled with film or partially clothed women or alcohol. And if the viewer takes that approach to this film then there is a viable portrait here.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2011
This movie is a bore and a real waste of time. It's one of those movies where there are long silent shots of peoples faces, where I guess their emotion is suppose to come through. Instead it made me dose off a couple times and genuinely made me not care for anyone in the movie. Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning are both good(not great), but the movie moves so slow that you just can't wait for it to end. This 98 minutes felt like 3 hours. I've seen a few movies like this where it works and is entertaining, but here it's just dull. Skip "Somewhere" and instead go somewhere worth while.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
Ah, "Somewhere" - the neglected stepchild of 2010. Upon winning a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Sofia Coppola's ("Lost in Translation") latest film amassed Oscar buzz for the entirety of three seconds, then was promptly set off to the side, forgotten.

Perhaps it's because nothing ever seems to happen in the film. One of "Somewhere" 's opening scenes presents three minutes of the waiflike Cleo (Elle Fanning, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") ice-skating in a blue dress - nothing else: no cuts away, no stuntwork. But there's a strangely mesmerizing, almost hypnotic quality following Cleo's every move, every bent knee. Her father, the jaded actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff, "Public Enemies"), looks up from his phone and it hits him what a flower his adolescent daughter has blossomed into - a ball of loneliness and pride wrapped into one.

Where "Somewhere" succeeds exquisitely is in communicating the language of temporality. Much of the film takes place inside the luscious, opulent Chateau Marmont Hotel - a languorous playground of a celebrity haunt where sin goes to bed with melancholy. In French, chateau means castle, and the term evokes a contained, Old World hollowness in which the kings have all died or become irrelevant.

Indeed, everything is synthetic here at the palace of the lost souls, even people. Protagonist Johnny Marco, a Hollywood actor trapped in the perpetual state of waiting, falls asleep in the midst of watching a soporific striptease starring two bombshell blonde-headed pole dancers. He falls asleep again later that night, this time whilst administering oral sex to a different leggy young thing. When his daughter, tall, willowy 12-year-old Cleo, decides to stay with him, Johnny needs to reprioritize. Cleo, more fairy sprite than an actual girl, brings to Johnny's isolated universe a mystical world of underwater tea parties and room-service pancakes.

Critics may deride Coppola's range. Why can't she move on from her comfortable cocoon of navel gazing to something a smidge more dynamic? We want action, excitement, they cry. But "Somewhere" 's static, almost therapeutic ambience works for it, and whatever is left unsaid unlocks a chasm of introspection. It's minimalism at its finest: The empty spaces are literally empty spaces. There are scenes seething with past memories of loneliness, repression, wanderlust - scenes that recall many a film in the Coppola discourse: Lux Lisbon's lace collared dress blowing in the wind, Charlotte's light pink briefs cradling her heart-shaped derriere, Marie Antoinette's toppling pile of shoes, bouffants and bonbons.

"Somewhere" might only strike a chord among a select few, but if you're patient, it can open petal by petal (to slightly rephrase ee cummings) an entire world for you. A silky tone poem saturated with an ennui as thick as the foggy, smoggy hills of Los Angeles, "Somewhere" bubbles with the most stirring ontological questions: What is real anymore? With all of the modern age's reflective surfaces and transient promises of fame, how do we find the thing that is genuinely authentic? We can go from womb to tomb without ever touching the essential qualities of existence - but somehow, "Somewhere" can bring us closer to them.
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