“Somewhere”
 
“Somewhere” goes nowhere.  Supposedly, that’s part of the point, but just because you’re trying to show that the main character is bored doesn’t mean the viewers need to feel the same way to identify with the character.
We begin with Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) driving around an oval track several times in a black sports car.  That’s it.  As if his life is going around in circles, with no real destination.  He’s apparently a very successful actor---so successful that he no longer lives any semblance of a “normal” life.  He hangs out in posh hotel rooms.  His publicist handles all the setting up for his public appearances.  He sleepwalks through most of them.  He’s divorced, and occasionally his daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning) shows up at his door, literally, and he gets along with her very well, because they just hang out together like old friends.  It’s just that he has to suspend his playboy lifestyle while she’s around.  The women who suddenly appear with their shirts off will just have to, well, keep their shirts on.  The scorned ex-girlfriends who send him nasty text messages will need to continue to experience being ignored.  When Cleo isn’t around, Johnny Marco drinks too much, smokes too much, and is bored with himself most of the time.  He floats in the pool.  He drives around aimlessly.  Then suddenly he’s flown to Italy for a public appearance, which seems to be a surprise to him, but he goes along willingly.  After all, what else does he have to do?  He doesn’t read scripts.  He’s determined not to have a serious relationship with anyone, or make any long-term commitments, and in the process he’s learned to not take himself very seriously, either.
The potentially changing moment comes when his ex calls him to tell him that she’s “going away” for a while and he’s going to have to take Cleo to camp.  Johnny doesn’t really object----he genuinely enjoys his daughter, though they’re more buddies and travel partners and dinner companions than functioning as a “real” parent/child.  Johnny and Cleo have such a good time together that Cleo cries about the prospect of returning to camp, but Johnny, faced with the scenario of actually raising her indefinitely, drops her off anyway.  And though he feels bad for again choosing to not be a big part of her life, he returns to his emptiness because---that’s who he is?
Director Sofia Coppola may have given us a modern-day parable of the successful movie actor, but she’s also given us no one to root for, and no opportunity for character growth, and not nearly enough complexity to maintain our interest.  Try again, Sofia .  You can do better, as you’ve already shown us with “Lost In Translation.”  The mojo for “Somewhere” really did get lost in the translation.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas