Somewhere (USA, 2010)

somewhere-movie-poster-2010-1020551341Directed by: Sofia Coppola. I thought I would hate this film when I saw the trailer: the long takes of moody, rich white people having a quarter- or mid- or, in this case, a third-life crisis because they don’t “feel” anything anymore, accompanied by somber indie music, without any real human spark or revelation at all. This film can almost serve as a “How to Read an Art Film” film: it’s full of arty techniques, but their deployment is always understandable, never too opaque or haughty. Sofia seems to makes art films that don’t feel like art films, that stay grounded in character, and I think that’s her lasting appeal.  The aforementioned long takes are the longest, if memory serves, that Sofia Coppola has ever done before. Such a tactic could easily be read as pretentious, and I’m sure that reaction was had by many who viewed the film. But Sofia won me over with Lost in Translation, and I think it would take a lot to shake me. I feel like I understand what she’s getting at with her sparse dialogue, episodic plot, and deliberate choice of music. These tokens of understatement, of restraint, of quiet, run completely counter to the loud, explosive bursts of emotion that characterize most of Hollywood’s attempts at “human drama.” This is not Revolutionary Road, and thank God. Coppola so far has settled on a specific range of subject matter, a specific aspect of the human experience that she finds interesting: melancholy, self-alienation, whatever name you can give to that blank numbing feeling that sometimes overcomes us despite everything. In this modest range of subject matter, she chooses a certain little range of cinematic techniques to get that across—those minimalist forms mentioned above (which is by no means an extensive analysis). To me, her stylistic approach, which I believe is truly singular in modern cinema, and her choice of content are totally complementary with one another. Somewhere isn’t without fault, surely. One of the low points for me was the culture shock aspect of the film, especially the moment where the Italian TV interviewer translates a short English phrase into a long Italian phrase. It wasn’t that funny in Lost in Translation, and it’s completely unnecessary here. Overall, though, I really think that there’s a lot of stuff in this film, and a pretty interesting take on gender, on femininity, on the intersection of sex and love, of lust and tenderness, that could form the basis of a whole chapter. For now, I’d just say that this is a film worth making, a film worth seeing, and a filmmaker to keep an eye on.

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One response to “Somewhere (USA, 2010)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

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