Somewhere – Day Twenty Seven – #40movies40days
Ennui is defined as a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom. That is familiar territory for Sophia Coppola. Some reviewers have criticized her for exploring the same territory repetitively.
Her 2010 film, Somewhere, follows movie star Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) during his stay at the Chateau Marmont, a hotel located off the Sunset Strip. Acting is interesting challenging work punctuated by long period of boredom and the routine tasks needed to promote and sell a film. Having been on enough sets and having known enough actors I know the boredom far outweighs the interest and intensity, by a long shot.
Movie star Marco is cooperative with whatever the studio or publicists need. He is unsure of what to do in his “down time” and seems numb in going through the motions of his own daily life. Johnny seems very lost and disconnected in “real life.” All his relationships, except with his young daughter, revolve around his fame and celebrity.
Cleo (Elle Fanning), Marco’s 11 year old daughter comes to stay with him when her mother has some kind of breakdown. Father and daughter spend time together but their relationship is more like older brother/younger sister than parent/child. The two goof around together, eat ice cream in the middle of the night, play video games and jet off to italy for Johnny’s film premiere.
The film is a bit self indulgent, over long and slow, but it has affecting performances and sense of a life being lived (or not). It’s an odd little film but I rather liked it. I wonder how many creative people find themselves out of sorts, detached and strangely bored in “real life”? There is a danger that creative work becomes your life and your life is just the boring routine interludes in-between. I know I have been guilty of just that– and it’s part of what I am rethinking.
Somewhere was first shown at the 67th Venice International Film Festival where it received the Golden Lion award for best picture. It got mixed to mostly positive reviews in the US.