Opening 11 Nov 2010
Writing credits: Sofia Coppola
Principal actors: Michelle Monaghan, Elle Fanning, Stephen Dorff, Laura Ramsey, Chris Pontius
Opening scene in the desert: Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) takes his Ferrari high speed in endless circles going nowhere; in & out and in & out of the fixed frame, to the painfully felt boredom of the viewer. At the end we watch him driving somewhere and continuing on foot. Before & After: metaphors for his life.
He is a successful movie star with the means to follow his every whim. Dealing with the latter and letting “handlers” take his life literally out of his hands seem at the root of his problems. His life feels empty and detached. Then, for a while, he is forced to take over the care of his incredibly mature and assertive 11-year old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning). Growing closer to her (close to anybody at all), by sharing daily chores and simple pleasures, put him on the path to take charge of his life again.
Never mind it’s a life most of us don’t lead; it’s somebody’s life somewhere, and therefore exemplary. It also may not be the fabulous life it appears to be. What we all can take away is that making small changes in our lives can make a big difference. To tell this story convincingly, it needs to be told by an insider: Sofia Coppola is able to give us that authentic Hollywood perspective without awe, aided by terrific performances. (Carola A)