Friday, 3 September 2010

Venice 2010: Somewhere

Stephen Dorff, Sofia Coppola, Elle Fanning

I'm still hoping that there's going to be a screening of Sofia Coppola's Somewhere when I get to Venice on Sunday, but I don't think I'm going to be in luck. Alas the critical reception hasn't mirrored the overwhelmingly positive notices for Lost In Translation there a few years back. Here are a few early reactions, ranging from reasonably positive to dismissively middling.

"A cloying sense of déjà vu radiates from Somewhere, Sofia Coppola’s long-gestating follow-up to her divisive postmodern historical biopic Marie Antoinette (2006)," writes Time Out's David Jenkins. "That’s not to dismiss the movie as a failure, it just forces viewers to make a judgement call as to whether her ongoing concerns regarding the alienation suffered by the pampered, beautiful elite (a world she obviously knows very well) coalesce into a satisfying body of work or whether she’s simply making variations on the same movie. So let's chalk this one up as existing in that peculiar space between La Dolce Vita and Entourage."

"Anyone expecting fireworks from Sofia Coppola after the lavish and controversial Marie Antoinette will be disappointed with Somewhere," writes Derek Malcolm in the Evening Standard. "This quiet and restrained portrait of Hollywood star Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) and his on-off relationship with his 12-year-old daughter Chloe (Elle Fanning) is not the noisy showbiz chronicle other directors might well have made it.

"The film has no big dramatic moments, just a series of sequences gradually making the watcher aware of just why there’s a text on Johnny’s phone stating: 'Why are you such an arsehole?' Dorff and Fanning play naturally and well — Coppola gives them every chance. It’s an unexpected change of gear for Francis’s daughter, who says her childhood is mined in the film. It may last in the memory a little more than Marie Antoinette, if not quite as long as Lost In Translation."

"Like Monet returning to his lilies, though with perhaps diminishing effect, filmmaker Sofia Coppola has returned to the daddy-daughter theme and to the world of flat, blank, affectless movie actors in flat, blank, affectless hotel rooms," writes Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. "Weirdly, the movie looks like an acidly satirical comedy about LA celebrity but with all the acidly satirical comedy removed, so that all that is left is a skeleton outline, a series of scenes and locations – hotel rooms, lobbies, swimming pools, luxury automobile interiors – in which essentially gentle, forgiving dialogue takes place."

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