I count Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation as one of my favorite films of the decade, and I have great respect for her other pictures—except for the one at hand. Somewhere, which somehow won the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival, strikes me as a non-movie, an utter waste of time.
Apparently, others see profundities in what strikes me as an obvious, and superficial, examination of an actor’s life in Los Angeles, where he lives in pampered luxury at the Chateau Marmont. An absentee dad, he is suddenly saddled with the responsibility of looking after his daughter, which eventually causes him to—
—look inward for the first time and recognize the emptiness of his existence.
There: I’ve just saved you 97 minutes.
Coppola does capture the singular atmosphere of the fabled Sunset Strip hotel where so much of her film takes place. The scenes of her leading character attending a press junket, going for a makeup test, and functioning day-to-day all have a feeling of verisimilitude. Both Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning do good work and seem very natural together.
But those qualities, laudable as they may be, cannot outweigh an overwhelming air of tedium that infects the film from start to finish. I couldn’t wait for Somewhere to be over and take a breath of fresh air.