One Sofia, Two Sofia, Three Sofia “Somewhere”

I noticed by my third Sofia film that many of her actors don’t seem to have star power longevity. Is it simply a matter of how they can act mediocre enough to do well in Sofia’s atmospheric, minimum plot roles, like Somewhere from 2010?

Of course, there are exceptions. Besides the obvious Scar-Jo (Lost in Translation), Elle Fanning, terrific in Somewhere, also stars in Coppola’s newest (torture porn) Beguiled, not to mention previously winning awards for J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. No doubt EF’s career has legs.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, others do get work. Like Emma Watson (Bling Ring) who just made a bad film with Tom Hanks (aside: he’s wracked up a few now: the aforementioned The Circle and the NOTHING HAPPENS Hologram for a King).
And others get tv work: (Israel Broussard Bling Ring, as does Stephen (could it be his name?) Dorff, star of Sofia film #3: Somewhere.

In Somewhere, Stephen Dorff was impressive in his role as the shallow Hollywood dad living at Chateau Marmont. In fact the Chateau is a character in itself giving the movie a celebrity-eavsdroppiing voyeur’s delight. Who hasn’t been curious about what the inside looks like? The circus-like goings on, twin strippers showing up to perform in Stephen’s room, topless women sunning themselves on the patio, crashers and guests partying till dawn in the (what appear to be) dorm like rooms.

Having called Stephen impressive maybe overstating (hence the aforementioned lack of accolades). In fact, can’t we all look totally bored to tears with life sometimes, a deep ennui settling into our bones? As usual, Coppola’s framing and slow food type film making bring this energy to life, even when the emotion is ‘slightly depressed’. My favorite shot was of Stephen in full face puddy being prepared for an aging John McCain special effects type role in which the camera just sits on his face (not literally), the only visual of his facial ‘skin’ are the two air holes of his nostrils. This represented Dorff’s character at its essence, simply a manatee like breathing vessel.

Of course there’s character development, but no where near my favorite of her films Lost in Translation. By the end of the film, we get the impression that Dorff will change as much as he is able. Again, the best acting came from adorable Elle Fanning who does so well as the kid lost in the Hollywood shuffle.

Perhaps Sofia gets so lost in the photograph of the movie in her head, she forgets about a much needed narrative depth.

Having said all that, I’m glad I did the Coppola three-peat and am also content to let the darker Beguiled pass me by. The world needs more comedy Sofia, not more torture.

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