Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 69%
Film Studies 101
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Chris Pontius
Stephen Dorff
Elle Fanning
Michelle Monaghan.
Sofia Coppola.
Sofia Coppola.
Running Time
97 minutes

Futuro Beach
4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
4 Star Empire Rating
We Are Many
4 Star Empire Rating
A Fuller Life
3 Star Empire Rating

Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
5 Star Empire Rating
Long Good Friday, The
5 Star Empire Rating

If Fellini directed Entourage

submit to reddit

Convalescing after a hand injury at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont hotel, actor Johnny Marco (Dorff) leads an empty existence picking up women, watching pole dancers, and sleepwalking through press conferences. His listless state is interrupted when Cleo (Fanning), his daughter from a broken-down relationship, comes to stay.

Sofia Coppola cleaves close to the obsessions that have informed her three previous flicks: daddy-daughter relationships, blank-faced actors, young girls trying to find their place in the world, oblique framing of clinical hotel rooms, too-cool-for-school music, all wrapped up in a low-level melancholy. For those irked by Coppola’s fascination with the woes of the over-privileged, steer clear. For the rest of us, this is a gentle, exquisitely made, quietly moving delight.

On paper, Somewhere may feel like a retrenchment after the downbeat reaction to the bigger Marie Antoinette. But, if anything, this is the most balls-y iteration of Coppola’s storytelling aesthetic yet. For starters, it has a practically wordless first 20 minutes, in which Johnny (Stephen Dorff) drives his Ferrari round a circular track — the locked-off camera shot adding whimsy to the life-going-nowhere metaphor — then watches delightfully amateurish pole dancers perform to his desultory gaze. As Marco is saddled with Cleo (Elle Fanning), his realistically smart 11 year-old daughter, what could be a mawkish drama in which a cute kid gives a disconnected dad life lessons is presented as an assemblage of individual scenes — Johnny takes Cleo to ice-skating lessons, a sojourn to Milan where Johnny picks up an award — that form into a moving, truthful portrait of the thawing of estrangement.

The droll, deadpan quality of Lost In Translation is taken even further (keep ’em peeled for a wry riff on Translation’s whisper ending). Undergoing a cast for old-age make-up, Johnny’s head is completely covered in a plaster mould, save for two nostrils. It’s an obvious visual metaphor for someone unable to connect with the outside world but Coppola lets it run for all its sly wit. Throughout Somewhere, camera shots are held much longer for artful comedic effect. Scenes that would have been cut out of other films — Cleo making breakfast, Marco following a hot girl in a car with no outcome — are here given full rein. Los Angeles doesn’t quite give Somewhere what Tokyo gives Lost In Translation, but Coppola still finds fresh ways to frame hotel lobbies (few understand the private little worlds of hotels better than she does), swimming pools and freeways.

With little dialogue, Dorff, after years of DTV villains, fills an inherently lazy man with sad-eyed charm. There’s no back story about Johnny’s career (you feel he’s at Keanu Reeves’ level) or his relationships. Coppola allows you to fill in the gaps, and through Dorff’s skill, you get to know the character intimately. Fanning, little sis of Dakota, is equally deft: she’s upbeat without being irksome, a mother figure to Johnny without being precocious.

Coppola puts only one foot wrong — an ending that hammers home a point that up until then had been beautifully understated. It may be too languid for some tastes (just like Marco’s life), but if you give in to its rhythms and slow-paced charms, Somewhere yields delicious rewards.

It may not have Lost In Translation’s reach, but it’s original and smartly funny with top performances.

Reviewed by Ian Freer

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Somewhere
Empire Star Rating

I really enjoyed this film, particulary Stephen Dorff's performance. However, when it finished, i couldn't quite understand what the point of the film was. It was definitely enjoyable but at the end you feel as though you have just watched a film about nothing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Alex Doran at 12:28, 30 March 2012 | Report This Post

A bold and brave film

I really really like 'Somewhere' and would highly recommend it for someone wishing to watch something a little different from the norm. When I saw it at the cinema for the first time I enjoyed the atmosphere that Coppola created, and the unusually slow pace was interesting to me. I left the theatre feeling like I'd been treated to someone's very personal artistic statement and that I'd want to revisit it again in the future for further study. Having just watched the DVD at home, this ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jrewing1000 at 00:03, 02 January 2012 | Report This Post


great film. but all sofia,s are great detail good in sight in to hollywood.. also i could watch those blonde twins pole dancing forever, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nobody make a move 2 at 20:48, 09 April 2011 | Report This Post

Slow, Hardly A Plot And Just Awful.

I was really looking forward to seeing Somewhere (no other reason that seeing the beautiful Stephen Dorff showing that lovely body yum!) but in the end I was left disappointed and gone off my dream actor. It's like watching a hour and a half of someone sleeping, bathing, eating, sitting there in silence, driving with stupid cameras pointed here n there and hardly a plot to follow through. I don't mind seeing a film that has a difference than the norm but this is awful, not even the pefomances we... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:33, 05 April 2011 | Report This Post

Tragic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 23:37, 04 February 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

my first post by the way so hi empire forums! ... More

Posted by thisblogisasham at 17:03, 06 January 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

Sofia Coppola’s first film for 4 years has been long awaited and the buzz for this film has only intensified with this film’s Golden Lion win at the Venice Film Festival.  Somewhere tells the story of Johnny Marco, an actor of indeterminant fame and popularity living alone in a fug at the famous Chateau Marmont hotel who is joined by his daughter when his estranged wife needs her space.  This film follows Marco as he gets on with life.   This is a film which is inevitably goi... More

Posted by Groovy Mule at 14:54, 29 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

I liked the first hour.  There is very little dialogue but it moved along at a good pace.  Both Stephen Dorff and Dakota Fanning are good in their roles.  Particularly Stephen who really looks like a hard living movie star. The film did drag on though and like all Sofia Coppola movies it tried too hard to be cool and was more concerned with the look of it than the actual plot IMO.  Definitely one to watch on DVD. ... More

Posted by princessa at 21:00, 28 December 2010 | Report This Post


Sofia Coppola's 'Lost in Translation' is a stunning picture of magical ingredients. Everything just clicked into place. Her new film, 'Somewhere' is a reinterpretation set in an L.A hotel, moving briefly to an Italian one. Compared to her first film, 'Somewhere' is (despite being realistic) directionless and lost, hence the title. Stephen Dorff plays it shallow, bored and uninspired; deep- down lonely though he lacks Bill Murray's charm and depth. This is a film minus dialogue, almost a sil... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gzus at 21:51, 17 December 2010 | Report This Post

She should just give up!!

Dunno what film any of you guys were watching but absolutely nothing happens for the entire film. Coppola should just give up. Yes, her dad was a good director but so far all her films have been awful. Lost in Translation was only made bearable by Bill Murray. Do me a favour love and just stop making films! Please! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by J_BUltimatum at 12:57, 17 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

Sofia Coppola returns to the big screen with her first feature in four years with Somewhere, an exploration of Hollywood’s culture and excesses. Stephen Dorff plays Johnny Marco, a Hollywood actor estranged from his wife and living in the temporary confines of the famous Chateau Marmont, a hotel for the rich and famous. Luxury and excess surrounds his every move, yet his is a life left largely void. An extended visit from his daughter Cleo gives Johnny the opportunity to put his life in to pers... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 16:01, 15 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

L: fugaziuk Im going to stay well clear of this - every review ive read (apart from empires) has called it dull and boring. The fact that in the review, the harp on about the way Coppola frames hotel lobbys! Yes thats what i want out of a film, a well framed lobby! ell my review (which was the first post on this thread, but has mysteriously disappeared) isn't negative. Rotten Tomatoes has the film at 74% too, so more people liked it than not. I don't think its a film for every... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 16:01, 15 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

Im going to stay well clear of this - every review ive read (apart from empires) has called it dull and boring. The fact that in the review, the harp on about the way Coppola frames hotel lobbys! Yes thats what i want out of a film, a well framed lobby! ... More

Posted by fugaziuk at 13:21, 15 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

Director/Screenwriter: oppola Starring: Dorff, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monaghan Synopsis Johnny Marco (Dorff) who is a hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his daughter Cleo (Fanning) surprises him with a visit. Review The work of writer/director Sofia Coppola (Francis Ford’s daughter) has a special place in my heart, because her second feature Lost in Translations as No. 2 in my top ten films of all time. What we saw in that masterpiece were two people... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 23:09, 13 December 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Somewhere

The 1st 20 minutes was like watching paint dry only really got anywhere near being good when Dorff & Fanning were together when apart just dull. 2/5 ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:10, 13 December 2010 | Report This Post

Film Studies 101: Being A Location Manager
Avengers: Age Of Ultron's Jamie Lengyel shares the tricks of the trade

10 Avengers: Age Of Ultron Secrets
Exclusive: Joss Whedon spills the beans on Empire's spoiler podcast

Updated! Stan Lee’s Marvel-lous Cameos – Now With Even More Cameos
From Daredevil to... Daredevil?

11 Of The Silliest Sesame Street Film Parodies
From Aveggies: Age Of Ultron to Big Birdman (and back again)

Podcast #158: Paul Bettany, Charlie Cox
The Vision vs. Daredevil

Richard Armitage Bids Farewell To The Hobbit
On goat-riding, keepsakes and saying goodbye to Thorin

Empire's Jurassic World Covers Unveiled
You're going to hear her roar

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire Digital Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 69%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)