Coming into the new film Somewhere, I was expecting a satire on the life of a successful Hollywood actor who struggles to find himself. Instead, the movie depicts a narcissistic guy, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), who spends his days aimlessly driving around in his expensive Ferrari. Marco’s days typically consist of attending press conferences and having a lot of sex. He doesn’t have many friends, but this doesn’t seem to bother him.
Things drastically change for Marco when he wakes up from a night of partying to the sight of his daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning). However, during their first visit, Marco finds himself struggling to connect with his daughter because he hasn’t seen her since his divorce from his ex-wife.
This definitely bothers him, so he convinces his ex-wife to start seeing Cleo more often. In doing so, their relationship begins to develop. Marco gets a call from his ex-wife, and she explains to him that she needs some time away from her daughter and essentially dumps Cleo on him. She informs him that Cleo needs to be dropped off at summer camp on a specific date, so he is forced to take Cleo to the premiere of his next big film in Italy.
While they’re in Italy, Marco sneaks around with various women but is still very mindful of his daughter and her happiness. When Marco finally separates with his daughter, he comes to the realization that this monotonous life that he had been leading needs to come to end.
To capture the essence of Marco’s monotonous life, Sofia Coppola, the film’s writer and director, drags almost every scene on for an exaggerated amount of time. The film opens with Marco driving his Ferrari around in circles. This goes on for a couple of minutes, and it’s almost painful to watch because the scene drags on for so long.
Unfortunately, this is very common for actors these days because they get to a point in their careers where they have enough money to essentially do absolutely nothing for the rest of their lives. However, this tedious style of living becomes too much of a habit, which causes them to start questioning their purpose.
I commend Coppola for making this film because it looks almost European; most people do not have the patience to watch repetitive scenes for an extended period of time. This film is also based on experience; Coppola lived with her father, Francis Coppola, at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, which is where the film predominantly takes place.
The film concludes with Marco checking out of the hotel and driving his Ferrari into the desert, where he begins walking in search of something. There isn’t much to this film on the surface, but once you start breaking it down you really understand the struggle Marco endures. When the movie ended I was a bit confused because it was sort of inconclusive. But the more my dad and I began to scrutinize it, the more we appreciated it.
Marco may go nowhere, but there is a lot preventing him from doing so. Part of the reason he doesn’t have many friends is that he worries that people only want to become friends with him because of his Hollywood status. In addition, he has this narcissistic attitude to him where he doesn’t really feel the need to make the effort to find friends. He could have many friends, live in a real house and lead a fulfilling life, but what’s preventing him from doing so is his struggle to get out of the habit of essentially doing nothing every day.