Thursday, June 9, 2011
Recommended Viewing: "Somewhere" Written & Directed by Sofia Coppola
This line never ceases to make me laugh:
Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson): "I tried being a writer but I hate what I write. I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses... taking pictures of your feet."
Despite my love for the film, I was reluctant to watch Ms. Coppola's most recent project, Somewhere, because I feared it would be more of the same, yet less of what was so great about Lost in Translation.
There are a few obvious similarities. A movie star (this time played by Stephen Dorff instead of Bill Murray) lives in a hotel, drifting through his pampered, rather absurd life without purpose. And yes, once again he's jolted out of his stupor by a "younger woman" (his 11-year-old daughter Cleo, play by Elle Fanning).
The performances are terrific, and I especially appreciated the way the film was bookended. We begin with a static partial shot of a race track, and watch as Dorff, in his expensive and noisy Ferrari, speeds around it (briefly out of sight) four times. The symbolism is clear: he's going nowhere; he's going in circles.
The final shot (spoiler alert) is Dorff in the same car, alone again, but driving out of the city, out onto the open road, going somewhere at last. And when he exits the car this time, there's a hint of a smile on his face.
When I write novels or short stories, I aspire to make my endings relate directly to my beginnings -- either by referring back to the opening imagery, or using similar allusions so the story feels like it's come full circle.
Do you believe endings should directly reference beginnings, or do you think it should be up to readers to interpret any potential parallels for themselves?