'Somewhere' just a few days in the life of a Hollywood star

It is hard to imagine a story much slighter than Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” a running diary in the life of a Hollywood star — a life rife with malaise, superficial encounters and the occasional, inconvenient reminder that he is something more than the sum of his celebrity.

Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a dad, just not a very ­attentive one. Yet when he invites daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) over for lunch, he cares enough about her feelings to kick one of his many anonymous conquests to the curb — at least for the afternoon. Cleo is the first to sign the cast on his arm.

Johnny lives a life most of us know from the tabloids, having assumed apparently permanent residence in West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, where there seems to be a party behind every door.

He goes through the usual movie-star motions, appearing at press junkets to mouth unrevealing sound bites about his latest film. “Who is Johnny Marco?” he is asked, and his response, or lack thereof, is telling.

There is plenty of downtime — too much, we suspect — but Johnny does not fill it with booze or drugs or much of anything really. By night, he hires pretty blond twins to dance for him, but he seems more diverted than aroused.

At all times, except when he is with Cleo, he seems to be looking for something better to do.

Cleo is the key to whatever transformation Johnny undergoes in “Somewhere,” because she can see past his bull and because she represents the most redeeming aspect of his curiously lonely existence. She is permanent, unlike the women, the movies and the publicists. She makes him real.

Does Johnny want to be real? He does. Life is perpetually sunny at the Chateau, but Johnny wants out. He is sick of the artifice. Where will he go? What will he do?

“Somewhere” does not tell us, and perhaps it is not important. His desire to escape may suffice.

Dorff plays Johnny likably, in an understated performance that relies less on dialogue — of which there is little — than nuance. We know him through his expressions, sidelong glances and body language. Johnny occupies the screen throughout, and a lesser actor might have made him seem merely impenetrable.

MOVIE REVIEW

Somewhere

Three stars

Starring Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola
Rated R
Running time 1 hour 37 minutes

artsentertainmentMoviesSan FranciscoSomewhere

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A San Francisco Unified School District program that gave would-be teachers extra training in the classroom has lost a key partner. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/2019 S.F. Examiner)</ins>
USF ends partnership with SFUSD in teacher residency program

District launched training effort to improve low retention rates for new hires

The Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown Community Development Center joined San Francisco city leaders and community partners in a “Campaign for Solidarity” at Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021. (CraigLee/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
City launches ‘Campaign for Solidarity’ to combat racial violence

Mayor London Breed, the city’s Human Rights Commission and community leaders launched… Continue reading

It’s time to break the code of silence and end the stigmatism against infertility, which is fairly common. <ins>(Shuttterstock)</ins>
Struggles with infertility are common

We all can support friends, ask legislators to mandate sppropriate insurance

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Muni’s K-Ingleside line will return six months earlier than previously announced. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Most Read