Sofia Coppola’s latest film, Somewhere is like many of her works before. The pace is pretentiously exhausting, and the long takes linger forever. Though this work about a Hollywood Star, Stephen Dorfman (very sexy) and the relationship that he develops with his daughter, Elle Fanning (Who I am a HUGE fan of) has some promising moments, the ending will ultimately disappoint you. Yet, there is a sense of maturity that Coppala is developing. Parts of this film are hilarious, and enrapture you entirely into the lives and the relationships of the father-daughter characters.
There are moments of beauty within this film in terms of the look, the mood, the feeling, the warmth… but, there is such a weakness to the entire package. I usually don’t judge films based upon their story. Stories are for novels, narratives are for films. Yet, this story/narrative, whatever you chose to call it, was so pathetically faulty. When there is an emotional break in this film, which is half-heartedly building up throughout, it seems completely unjustified. The story isn’t strong enough to warrant the types of reactions that we are provided with at this point in the film. I don’t think this is the actor’s fault as I truly believe that Dorfman did a wonderful job, (I want to see more of his work) especially since there is an enervating lack of dialogue in the first half of the film, but the problem lies in Coppala. She has no sense of pace. What she has is a sense of style. So, go shoot some photographs, Sofia.
What is being attempted is the realization that this man, who seemingly has everything has nothing. We’ve heard this cliche scenario a million times before. So, what makes this instance special. Well, the quirkiness of particular moments make the film enjoyable, but like I mentioned before, the ending is just such a pathetic attempt at a sense of closure.
I am being a little harsh on this film. If it isn’t clear I would call this film completely average, not horrible, but hey, it’s an improvement over her failure, Marie Antoinette.
This movie just proves how directors/writers usually have very strong visions for their films. Their massive control helps to convey a story that is actually true to thei intentions of the screenplay. This director,Derek Cianfrance, according to IMDB has a major history in the realm of documentary filmmaking, as well as cinematography (which is obvious because of the beauty and creativity of some of the shots ie:the shower scene in the future room). Because of his tendency to follow and observe others, this aspect has completely saturated Blue Valentine as we follow the love lives/deterioration of two lovers.
I must say that I loved the film. The acting was superb, the story was brilliant, the shots were clever, the production design was smart (eagle shirt=fourth of july=OH I GET IT), whenever I had a question the characters answered back. Then the deeper underlying themes about love having to do with the need to communicate really came across the screen. There were no cliches in this film. Everything was unique. In fact, it was the first time that I had ever heard/seen the details of an abortion discussed on screen. I thought that Happy Endings was revolutionary in that regard, but boy was I wrong.
The idea of living up to one’s potential as a source of happiness was called into question and it really struck a chord. Can one really be happy in their own mediocrity? According to this film, no, it is impossible. If you are at all special, you should be great in something. And these characters were definitely special. I believe there is something too this element. We as an American society are never really living up to our potential. We look for excuses in everything we do. I know I am guilty of this, and I believe that most people I know are as well.
And what is really striking is the ending, which you all know, so I’m not spoiling anything. You never know, there is a possibility of the two working through their problems. However, my interpretation is that they were doomed from the beginning. In this non-linear narrative she was always too reticent, and he was always guilty of overcompensating for something, whether it be his lack of education, or his socio-economic class. The American life was put on display in this film, and I really enjoyed the heart wrenching tale that enfolded.
I think this might be my favorite film of the year. Well, this Black Swan and The Kids are All Right.
Side Note:One of my friends told me that he wouldn’t see this movie because he was in a relatively new relationship. I call bullshit. You should all go see this movie. If this movie affects you that strongly, it is obvious that there is an issue in your relationship. If you have a solid foundation, this movie is merely sad, and you will feel sympathetic for the characters.
Why Ryan Gosling was not nominated for an Oscar can only be attributed to the fact that he already has been. I guess that doesn’t make any sense since Michelle Williams has been, but she was nominated for a supporting role. He has already been in the category of a lead film. These two are wonderful in their craft.
“We don’t expect anything from Obama, whom we regard as a great hypocrite. But we hope and expect the American people – trade unions, professors’ associations, student unions, activist groups, to come out in support of us. What we want for the US government is to completely get out of the picture. We don’t want any sort of backing; just cut aid to Mubarak immediately and withdraw backing from him, withdraw from all Middle Eastern bases, and stop supporting the state of Israel. Ultimately, Mubarak will do whatever he has to do to protect himself. He will suddenly adopt the most anti-US rhetoric if he thought that would help him save his skin. At the end of the day he’s committed to his own interests, and if he thinks the US won’t support him, he’ll turn somewhere else. The reality is that any really clean government that comes to power in the region will come into open conflict with the US because it will call for radical redistribution of wealth and ending support for Israel or other dictatorships. So we don’t expect any help from America, just to leave us alone.”—
Egyptian blogger and activist Hossam el-Hamalawy talks to U.C. Irvine history professor Mark LeVine at Al Jazeera.
So, as you all know, James Franco was in my department last year. In fact he had a teacher, Ed Guerrero that I was blogging about earlier. Well, apparently last year in one of the classes Guerrero went on a tangent about how horrible of a film MILK was. For all of you who don’t know, Franco was in MILK. I can’t wait to see more of this man in action. He clearly has no limits, and I can’t wait until he crosses a line with me.
what did you think of Blue Valentine? I saw it last night, and was pretty disappointed.
I didn’t see it yet. I was going to go 2 times last week, but I was incredibly too tired. Everyone I know keeps saying “eh, i don’t want to see it because i’m just beginning a relationship”. I must say, that I think they are lame. I hope to get to see it sometime this weekend. I’ll probs go by myself.