The film can be seen in a semi autobiographic sense as director Sofia Coppola spent much of her childhood following her father Frances Ford around the world for film making and press. Cleo can be seen as a version of herself while Johnny is the archetypal star for whom life has become easy and boring. The main problem with the film is that we, the audience, are meant to feel sorry for Johnny but I did not.
In an early scene Johnny is watching a pole dance from freaky sex twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon when he falls asleep. This sets up his character as someone who is bored with life and used to the trappings of
Hollywood success. The scene is quite funny but also
weird as I had no idea of the existence of these weird twins who my girlfriend
informs me are BOTH Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends *shudders*. As the film continues
and it becomes obvious that Johnny is sick of partying and bored of the sex
with all the beautiful women I started thinking to myself “Hang on. You’re sat
in a hotel room having just f*cked a supermodel and now you’re driving your Ferrari
around. I do not feel for you”.
In terms of looking at the life of a star the film is a success. I imagine it does become mundane at times and I expect you have to do things that you’re not particularly keen on but from my perspective the benefits outweigh the negatives. This is especially true for Johnny Marco. The introduction of Cleo helped to draw me back in. The father/daughter relationship interested me and especially it’s dynamic where it seemed at times that eleven year old Cleo was the adult. She cooks and acts calm under pressure while Johnny sleeps, plays guitar hero and gets paranoid at being followed every time he leaves the house.
My favourite scene was the one in which Johnny and Cleo are in
attending an awards ceremony. Johnny hooks up with a voluptuous Italian star
and the next morning at breakfast Cleo tells Johnny what she thinks using only
her eyes. It’s a great performance from Elle Fanning and you know exactly what she
is saying despite her never opening her mouth. Fanning is excellent throughout
as she has a habit of being. She herself has the makings of a star. Stephen
Dorff plays the jaded actor well and is believable. Although not my area of
expertise I wouldn’t say he is the best looking chap so the fact that so many
women throw themselves at him adds to the theme of success gets you anything. Jackass' Chris Pontius is also surprisingly adequate. Italy
Overall the film is interesting at times and well acted. The direction and cinematography are measured, assured and attractive but the underlying problem remains that I did not feel sorry for the central character.