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DVD Pick: 'Somewhere'

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DVD Pick: 'Somewhere'
© Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Sofia Coppola's Subtly Nuanced Father-Daughter Film

Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, Somewhere (2010) was written and directed by Sofia Coppola. It is far removed from mainstream Hollywood movies and is much closer in spirit to European classics that young American adults used to go see in art houses. Somewhere is low-keyed to the point where those who don't like it characterize it as inert. But those of us who are receptive to it find it contemplative.

One of the most interesting things about Somewhere is that much of it takes place at the Chateau Marmont, a real-life legendary hotel located just above Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Coppola's protagonist, a movie star named Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), lives at the Chateau Marmont. He's a single man in his late 30s who drives a Ferrari and has casual sex with some of the good-looking women who turn up at the hotel.

But what gives the story its humanity is that Johnny has an 11-year-old daughter named Cleo (Elle Fanning) who comes to stay with him for a couple of weeks. As he spends time with Cleo, Johnny begins to reexamine his life. However, Coppola tells this wispy tale in an unexpected manner, refusing to follow Hollywood conventions and including idiosyncratic details.

The film is made up almost entirely of minor, undramatic incidents: Johnny watches Cleo ice skate, father and daughter play Guitar Hero, they eat gelato and watch Friends dubbed in Italian, a Chateau Marmont staffer sings a folksy rendition of "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear," Johnny gets his head covered in goo by special effects guys, and the like.

Bonus Material

The Somewhere DVD contains only one extra, a mildly interesting 17-minute behind-the-scenes documentary. This gives you a chance to hear from writer-director Sofia Coppola, who says that after Marie Antoinette she wanted to do something "more like a poem, just a little portrait." Later she states, "I wanted to do something that, for me, was sort of experimental in that it was very minimal."

You also hear from the manager of the Chateau Marmont, who recalls that some years ago he did Sofia's birthday party at the hotel.

And in the documentary you meet Kristina and Karissa Shannon, the identical twins and Playboy Playmates who have two pole dancing scenes in the film.

DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
Total Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Sexual Content, Nudity and Language

Disclosure: A review copy of the DVD was provided by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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