Somewhere (2010, dir. Sofia Coppola)

This has been compared to Lost in Translation, which is also a quiet, contemplative trip where a famous actor gets strung along, carried by hotel- and wait-staff, and those who know the local language (but in this case: Italian). What I think sets Somewhere apart from Lost is its lead’s missing sense of humour, and later on, what forces the main character to face himself and create change.

From the beginning, he humourlessly brushes off the fact that his day-to-day life is unsustainable at best. (He lives at the Chateau Marmont, drinks alcohol with every meal, is a playboy.) There is nothing comforting in his privilege, in his broken arm, in the bad movie he recently starred in.

Johnny is the Hollywood version of Marcello Rubini (La Dolce Vita); he’s comedically machismo and subservient to his career. The only person who can make him human again is his preteen daughter, and only because he is suddenly forced to spend three weeks with her. As Cleo hard-reenters his life, it’s not like everything changes. What’s valuable about Somewhere is not that Johnny takes a 180 degree turn to find meaning in life. It’s that the joy of a relationship with someone is itself restorative.