The first reviews of Sofia Coppola‘s new film Somewhere are starting to come in from Venice, and they’re quite good. Praise for Stephen Dorff‘s performance is universal so far, as is an appreciation for the quiet tone of Coppola’s storytelling.
Let’s kick things off with a blockquote from Variety‘s review, which seems to sum things up pretty well:
Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” is a quiet heartbreaker. Trading “Lost in Translation’s” Tokyo hotel for Beverly Hills’ Chateau Marmont, the ever-perceptive writer-director further hones her gifts for ruefully funny observation and understated melancholy with this low-key portrait of a burned-out screen actor. Steeped in morning-after regret and centered around a strong performance by Stephen Dorff, the result is sure to frustrate those who require their plots thick and their emotions underlined.
Guy Lodge at In Contention calls the film ” wry, shimmery and thoroughly beguiling,” and says
It’s an appropriately distanced introduction to a man who doesn’t let much in, and Dorff underplays it beautifully, but both character and actor are unlocked when Johnny’s 11 year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) enters proceedings, and their warm, supple chemistry becomes the film’s dominant motor…Both actors are a delight: it’s higher praise than some might think to declare this Dorff’s finest hour, but it’s nonetheless a watershed performance that reflects on his established screen persona while adding softer accents. Fanning, meanwhile, is a quietly rewarding screen presence, perceptive rather than precocious, and possessed of one of the most deliciously subtle death-glares in the business.
And Empire summarizes,
All of Coppola’s films to date have, to lesser and greater degrees, been focused on children of privilege (Marie Antoinette being the ne plus ultra), and some audiences may struggle with finding sympathy for Johnny and his zombiefied state of spoil-brat ennui. But if you roll with it, Somewhere is a rich and sophisticated film that draws its world so deftly it’s easy to forget it isn’t ours.
Variety also praises the work of cinematographer Harris Savides and the way he shoots the Chateau Marmont. His “camera prowls the balconies and bungalows of this popular Hollywood haunt with an appreciation for its beauty as well as its isolation.”