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Actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is leading the fast-paced lifestyle of a tabloid celebrity. He's comfortably numb with his life of women and pills when his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) unexpectedly arrives at his room at Hollywood's legendary Chateau Marmont hotel. Their encounters encourage Johnny to question his life in ways he never expected.
Director Sofia Coppola's career to date exemplifies the adage to "write what you know." For her fourth feature, Francis Ford Coppola's youngest child focuses on a famous man and his daughter. Actor Johnny Marco (a surprisingly poignant Stephen Dorff) stays in Tinseltown's Chateau Marmont while promoting his latest picture. When he isn't attending press junkets, he smokes, sleeps around, and hires blonde twins who pole-dance for his entertainment (they bring their own collapsible poles). At a party, he gets so drunk he falls and breaks his wrist. Into this adult scenario, his ex-wife drops off 11-year-old Cleo (Elle Fanning) for a visit. Despite the state of suspended adolescence in which he drifts, Johnny gets a kick out of this well-behaved kid, who skates like a champ and cooks like a pro. If Cleo doesn't quite worship her delinquent dad, she enjoys his company, but when Johnny finds out her mother needs to "take some time off," he must examine a life in which mind-numbing routine takes precedence over purpose. Somewhere represents Coppola's third film about a famous figure, after Marie Antoinette, and her second about a movie star, after Lost in Translation. Johnny shares Bob's frustration with a system that treats him more like a cog in the machine than a human being. Coppola conveys his frustration best when Johnny gets fitted for an old-age mask--a remarkable sequence in which Dorff looks like a plaster monster devoid of eyes and mouth, just two holes through which to breathe. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Elle Fanning's performance is brilliant and I found myself grateful that someone has captured her magical & fleeting tweenhood.
Sofia Coppola basically makes films like they used to but brings visual detailing that feels very fresh and special. This film will stay with me for a while - I strongly recommend.