Somewhere (2010)

It’s an appropriate title because somewhere amongst this montage of randomly edited, meaningless, and incomplete scenes is the story of a movie star/absentee father’s maturity into the loving and caring father of his 12 year old daughter.  Well, maybe that’s giving him too much credit because there’s little or no change in his life style, but it seems he wants to be a better and more attentive father.  I said “it seems” because you really have to work to find anything meaningful in this so-called film.

Here are two analogies to explain what I mean:

1.   Imagine you’re playing “Where’s Waldo” and Waldo represents the father-daughter story.  In order to find the story, you have to find Waldo who’s hidden in a book full of look-alikes.  If you’ve ever seen a Where’s Waldo book you know exactly what I mean, and it ain’t easy.

2.    Now you’re watching one of my favorite movies, Snatch (2000), and you’re listening to Brad Pitt’s character, Mickey, give a long speech.   The brilliance of his character is the fact that no one can understand a word of his gibberish except the few words that are necessary for the story.  It’s also important that he doesn’t give any long speeches.  But in my analogy to Somewhere, imagine that Mickey is giving a long speech and the father-daughter story is hidden within the few words that you can understand.  In order to “hear” the story, you have to understand it from within 90 minutes of gibberish.

In a nutshell, that’s what this movie is.

People seem to fall over one another trying to extoll the films of Sophia Coppola as if there’s something genius about them.  I don’t see it.  I thought Lost in Translation was lost in translation, but regardless of your opinion of that film, none of it applies here.  At the core of Somewhere is a kernel of a good story, but it’s surrounded by disjointed and unintelligible nonsense.  The really sad thing is that it was crafted with that intention.

4/9

THE REVIEWER’S CUT:  AN ALTERNATE ENDING

Had this film been made from the viewpoint of the daughter the result would have been dramatically different.  Take the same seemingly meaningless, incomplete, and randomly edited scenes, give Elle Fanning a lot more screen time and make the film from her character’s perspective.  That might have been a better movie using the same material.  We may never know.

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