Ten Decisions Shape Your Life

I saw Sofia Coppolla’s new film, Somewhere on Sunday.

Generally, I’m not a massive fan of her. I think she is far too often guilty of style over substance (although I applaud her risks in Marie Antoinette, even if I didn’t enjoy it.) Somewhere is back in familiar territory, back to examining the lives of the priveleged. I was hesitant: How many more films about big LA types with personal problems can we watch? Doesn’t it seem even slightly grotesque considering the state of the world? So I was surprised that I loved Somewhere.

While I think it was a strong film in general, it’s the performances and humour that really make it shine. Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning are warm and believable. Though they’re not up to much in the film, you find yourself just wanting to watch them. There are problems: It’s a bit too long (though not by much), a solution to which could’ve avoided the second problem. It doesn’t need the last 5 minutes – the point is made, the arcs are done, it’s simply the ‘chase’ as Tony would say it. The only thing the last 5 minutes does is resolve a symbol (Dorff’s character’s sports car), which is nice but jarringly on the nose for a film that is otherwise mostly gentle an understated. Thinking back on another thing Tony told us, how it’s good to have an opening image that sums up our film, Somewhere entirely does – a long, locked off shot of Dorff’s character driving aforementioned sports car robotically around a race track. Obvious, but effective.

Also, just came back from seeing The Glass Menagerie at the Young Vic. It was my first encounter with the play, and still need to think on this one a little. The centre piece was superb, and heart-breaking, but not quite sure how I feel about how the rest holds up. Far be it for me to knock Tennessee Williams, but I find faded southern belles incredibly annoying.

In other news: the girl. I can’t stop thinking about this girl. Well, woman, but that makes it sound a little more Miss Robinson than I’d like to convey. I’m still young enough to call women about my age girls without it being weird, right? I apologise for the 17 year-old style entry here, but the feeling is the exact same as from when I was that young.

A funny thing happens when people start making that early 20s shift into professionalism. Grand displays of emotion suddenly seem very gauche. I mean, I was never very good at telling someone I was hopelessly enamoured with them, but I find it all the more tricky now. A girl expects sophistication, a nuanced romance – dinner dates, not a drunken blurt, which was the source of pretty much every romance in my life save for one, maybe two. And this girl…this girl is Perfect. Of course, they never really are, but it’s what you think, isn’t it? I figure ever guy encounters that sort of  ‘perfect’ woman only a few times in their life. Smart, attractive, funny and warm – how can you fail to fall in love with that? I’m sure that every guy that meets her does: this woman so delightful that you’d feel bad about wanking over her (to quote). There’s also that classic sadness behind the veneer that in a fairly childish way, I find completely fascinating. You get feeling she holds a lot back, and you really want to know what it is. A few months ago, I walked into the Tate Modern and they have these postcards you can write something on and they display them en masse, on a wall downstairs. I wrote one that said: “Dear x – I love you, and can tell everyone person in this world, except for you.” I don’t know why I did it. I love the occasionally overly dramatic gesture, I guess, and it felt a little cathartic. I mean, it’s not even true at all – she’s a friend, we have mutual friends that I couldn’t tell either. But, y’know.we’re all away that love does not conquer Chinese tanks, we just like to believe it would it only the tank drivers were choked with emotion. (This hyperbole can be hilariously played on [and is it wrong that I actually find that song quite romantic in its way…?])

I want to tell her she’s always in my dreams, that I want to hear about her every little worry, that I’d love to misspend a little of my life with her. Til then, I’ll continue a quixotic search for a one night stand that’ll give me enough feeling of either heartache or joy to finish a couple of scripts up and thus move up and onwards.

Enough of my nauseatingly adolescent fawning. Here’s some music…it’s in the Somewhere trailer, and one of my favourite bands of the decade. Enjoy:

I’ll Try Anything Once by The Strokes

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