1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An underrated film?,
This review is from: Somewhere [DVD] (2010) (DVD)
Most reviewers tend to focus on the figure of Johnny - but what about Cleo, his 11-year-old daughter? She is resilient, well-adapted, flexible, at ease in adult company, socially practised, accomplished in every way. But also sad, neglected by egocentric parents who no doubt love her but see her as a bit of a nuisance in their lives. She needs to move, as 11-year old children need to do. This is clearly signalled in a number of scenes. But what chance to move within the claustrophobic confines of the Chateau Marmont? She wants to play, something that Johnny's own childhood pal picks up. Johnny himself scarcely notices. A scene in a hotel swimming pool scarcely big enough to swim two or three strokes illustrates this most poignantly: Cleo vigorously swimming back and forth like an animal in a tiny cage.
There are revealing moments of deep sadness. Cleo is not at all keen to experience her father sleeping around - something he can ill conceal from her watchful and over-adult eyes. And in the key scene of the film, she reveals in one brief moment her deep sadness, her insecurity and anxiety. Johnny is sympathetic but has no adequate response: he just packs her off to summer camp. And of course we then see her setting off to summer camp as resilient, well-adapted, flexible... As ever. You could say that Johnny doesn't do anything terribly wrong as a father, he is kind and understanding and non-judgemental with his daughter. But is that enough? No doubt she will get all the movement she needs at the summer camp - but will she not sadly miss the family she doesn't really have?
It is hard not to draw personal parallels between Sophia Coppola and Cleo: after all, Sophia was once the 11-year-old daughter of a huge Hollywood personality. This is a beautifully photographed, beautifully acted, superbly directed film. Understatement all the way. Watch it twice, at least, to see the fine details which tell us so much that is not loudly expressed.