2010 / Sofia Coppola > For the third straight film, Coppola dives into the emotional troubles of the rich and famous. While the general perception may be that money has the ability to buy one happiness, the truth is that wealth is a relative meter of comfort and works only as a superficial divider amongst the populace. One of the great examinations of this came from Nick Smith in Metropolitan: “It’s a tiny bit arrogant of people to go around worrying about those less fortunate.” The theory works completely in reverse as well. Mistakes can be made by anyone, regardless of job, money or location. It’s how we deal with those mistakes and what we learn from them that actually defines us.
In Somewhere, we follow Johnny Marco (played without pretension by Stephen Dorff), a Hollywood star lacking energy for life. We take in his aimless minutiae until his daughter Cleo pays him a visit. In Cleo, Elle Fanning is able to bring forth the grace of life that wakes up sleeping giants. In what may be my favorite supporting female performance of the year, her simple smiles keep our attention, and we understand, almost instantly, the value of truly loving someone away from all the glitz and glamour the world so continuously taunts us with. Sure, she’s still able to order expensive room service in an Italian hotel because of her father’s fame, but it’s more important to think of the loving kinship here than let our mechanical jealousies take precedence.
Of all films from 2010, Somewhere might be the one that I find with the most rewatchable. Every scene mesmerizes in its naturalness—including a wondrous episode of Guitar Hero that many of us can identify with. In contrast to Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, Coppola doesn’t really force any resolutions. Johnny’s emotional curve remains relatively flat throughout because, let’s face it, some of us never learn our lessons. And while that’s a tragic truth to admit, it’s a link that sticks.