In the view of Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere is basically a pallid thing, a B-side, “a movie which just floats through its running time without any sort of crisis.”
Somewhere star Stephen Dorff, director-writer Sofia Coppola, costar Elle Fanning at the Venice Film Festival — Friday, 9.3
Except, that is, for “the subtle, insidious crisis of identity creeping up on Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), a pampered movie actor, holed up in the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles — a self-absorbed guy who is fawned upon by assistants, producers and especially beautiful women.
“Yet he is more borderline asshole than anything else, and never does anything really bad. Then his troubled ex-wife shows up, announces that she needs time for herself and leaves him to look after their 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning).
“Like Monet returning to his lilies, though with perhaps diminishing effect, Coppola has returned to the daddy-daughter theme and to the world of flat, blank, affectless movie actors in flat, blank, affectless hotel rooms.
“In another type of movie, the daughter would be a sharp-tongued, feisty, wise-beyond-her-years cutester who would cheerfully wreck Johnny’s selfish adventures in boozing and womanising, and after a few screaming matches, force him to find the real spiritual values of fatherhood. But this never happens.
“Adorable Cleo just smiles sweetly at him and goes along with everything – more or less like everyone else in his life; there is only the blandest and most lenient recrimination right at the end..
“The movie is, arguably, far truer to life than a more obviously scripted account, and there are some nice touches – for his ‘old man’ makeup, Johnny has to endure a plaster mould slathered all over his head with breathing holes left for his nostrils. Like some monster or Egyptian mummy, we see him stifling with loneliness. Cocooned in celebrity, he can make contact with no one.
“Coppola is arguably very indulgent to both daddy and daughter, and to the rich and famous generally, and audiences may be bemused or exasperated, according to taste.”
:For all the similarities, this does not have the brilliant seriocomic moments of Lost in Translation. If that was her hit single, then this is its B-side.”