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Somewhere is light on dialogue and heavy on metaphors. Did I lose you already? Sofia Coppola‘s follow-up to Marie Antoinette finds her returning to Lost in Translation territory— lots of atmosphere, long, static takes, and little talk.
We see Hollywood celeb Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) tooling about: In the opening shot, driving in circles around a desert loop; later watching twin strippers with seemingly feigned interest in his room at the Chateau Marmont or picking up women at parties or eating or taking his Propecia. He occasionally gets a call from his agent or barbed texts such as “Why are you such an asshole?”
Then, he’s surprisingly given temporary custody of his 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), when his ex decides she needs time to herself. The action doesn’t exactly accelerate—Johnny’s still eating, texting, and womanizing, though less of the latter as Cleo becomes his main girl. They sunbathe and play Rock Band. Mostly silent. That’s really all there is to Somewhere, a sometimes insightful but mostly dull picaresque of a lost movie star whose day-to-day life has become empty.
But unlike Lost in Translation, the daddy-daughter relationship isn’t all that compelling; it’s kinda sweet, but there’s no blossoming here on either part; though we’re to believe Johnny has grown up a bit by the end of the story. Filmed at the Marmont, around California, and in Italy, Somewhere is a very pretty picture. But like Johnny’s admirers, beauty can get boring, too.