Sofia Coppola’s subtle and beautifully judged story of a Hollywood actor’s existential anxiety was a deserved winner of this year’s Venice film festival’s Golden Lion. Successful but jaded, Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is holed up in LA’s Chateau Marmont recovering from a minor injury. He fills his time with pole dancers, pills and partying, but though he’s affable enough, nothing seems to shake his detachment and boredom. When his ex-wife heads out of town on a trip, she leaves their 11 year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) in his care, and the two hang out companionably, Johnny taking her with him when goes to Rome to promote his latest movie.
Coppola clearly knows this world inside out, and SOMEWHERE is funny and perceptive in its skewering of the absurdities of celebrity lifestyles. It’s also melancholy and tender, managing to elicit our sympathy for Johnny even as it reveals his complicity in his predicament. Tone and mood are perfectly pitched, helped by Coppola’s customarily judicious musical choices, and performances from both Dorff and Fanning are outstanding.
The BFI London Film Festival runs from October 13-28. Full programme information is available at www.bfi.org.uk/lff
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