Break out the bubbly, we are coming into award season time. Where the holidays had turkey and tinsel, Hollywood has hoopla, fanfare and media blitzes. Big production companies push big agendas for their award season contenders. The stars come out and parade and do interviews in hopes to build on a movie’s popularity. Sometimes, though, there are smaller movies that can make an impact based solely on their skill and impact on the viewer. The movie Somewhere by Sofia Coppola has been flying somewhat under the radar. The razzle dazzle is not surrounding it, but it is a solid choice to consider regardless. What is funny about the story line of Somewhere is that it is based smack dab in the middle of all of this Hollywood glitter. Sofia Coppola, who is the quintessential by-product of this world, directs the story about a successful actor living the crazy Hollywood life. Stephen Dorf plays Johnny, the huge movie star living the stereo-typical life. His home is the Chateau Marmount, his friends are pills and booze, and he is lost. This is not the most original of subject matter. However, the way Ms. Coopola handles the material is what makes the complexity of Johnny’s circumstances so interesting and powerful. In a world of crazy excess, this Hollywood story is told with a quiet subtlety. There is not a ton of dialogue or characters. In fact, because I am a product of Hollywood showiness, I kept waiting for the crescendoing climax. There were times where I was actually uncomfortable waiting for the huge life lesson to drop: the accident, the mistake, the death, whatever. It never comes. Now this can make for what one may consider a “slow” movie, and I am not going to lie, there were times I was thinking “hello?” However, the quietness allows for the actions and expressions of the characters to tell the story. As Ms. Coppola allows this to happen, the emotion and vulnerably of Johnny and his daughter Cleo really resonate. It is this relationship, between Johnny and his daughter, that really adds the depth to the movie. Again, do not go thinking that this will be handled in a way that is all “Hallmark” adorned. Johnny is flawed and he does not end up on the white stallion. He does, however, redeem himself and make his way out of the murky underbelly of his Hollywood life into “greener pastures”. Just don’t expect the fireworks and neat little ending with a bow. I am not sure if the academy voters will earmark Stephen Dorff for best actor or Elle Fanning, the sweet Cleo, for best supporting actress. What I do know is that they effectively tell a poignant story from a stale plot line using nuanced facial expressions and simple dialogue. Sofia Coppola allows the evolution of our Johnny to play out without bells and whistles, but with an interesting integrity. She may or may not get recognized for best director. Somewhere was after all a small and quiet movie. Regardless, it stayed with me long after I finished watching it. It kind of glittered in my heart.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.