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‘Somewhere’: Trip to Nowhere or Wondrous Fantasy? (Review)

Elle Fanning and Stephen Dorff spend some quality time together. (Focus Features)

‘Somewhere,’ the latest film from Sophia Coppola (‘Lost in Translation’) begins with a series of long, extended shots that seemingly exist only to test the patience of the viewer.

It’s quickly established that Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a movie star leading a lonely, listless existence. He has been in long-term residence at the Chateau Marmont, a famed luxury hotel in Hollywood known for its exclusive clientele and strict policies on privacy. He awakens each day to a phone call from Marge (Amanda Anka), presumably his personal assistant (we never see her in person), informing him of the arrangements that have been made for him  to fulfill his promotional obligations for his latest film. He comes home to his hotel room each evening, often to an unexpected party consisting of friends and strangers invited by his friend Sammy (Chris Pontius), and then spends the night in bed with whatever random stripper, party guest, or fellow hotel habitue happens to fall within his line of sight.

All proceeds in numbing, routine fashion until the weekly arrival of his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning). Johnny comes fully to life, the two spend a few hours together, and then Johnny drops her at her mother’s house. Clearly, Cleo is the best thing that’s ever happened to Johnny, even if he doesn’t remember that Cleo has been ice skating for three years. With Cleo gone, the spark goes out of Johnny.
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