Posted December 27, 2010 by William Dunmyer in Uncategorized

Somewhere: Poem About Boredom That Itself is Boring

Sofia Coppola’s new film, “Somewhere,” is a poem about boredom that itself is boring much of the time. There are moments of exceptional beauty and tenderness, but these are outnumbered by the moments of tedium and repetitiousness.

Just as in her last film, “Marie Antoinette” (2006), Coppola envisions a world that would serve as a compelling backdrop for a story. In the previous film it was Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution. Here it’s the world of 21st-century royalty (movie stars). But in both cases, Coppola only provides the backdrop. The viewer is taken up by the director’s impressive visual imagination for about 30 minutes and then expects a story to start developing. In both cases, the viewer’s hopes are dashed.

Ms. Coppola showed a lot of promise with “Lost in Translation,” one of my Top 10 films of 2003. But since then, she’s had trouble. If she doesn’t start producing meatier films, I think her days as a filmmaker are numbered.

But then again, perhaps her father will bankroll any idea she comes up with. And let’s face it, Francis Coppola is out of story ideas, too. His last two films, “Youth Without Youth” in 2007 and “Tetro” in 2009, both were visually ravishing but seriously problematic in the story department. Someone has to remind the Coppolas that painting pretty pictures is not filmmaking. Cinema is about stories. The Coppolas have drifted someplace else. Let’s call that place Somewhere.

William Dunmyer

William Dunmyer is a lifelong cinephile who fell in love with movies at about the age of 5. He lives in New York City.