Coppola Woes

By Kassandra de Hoyos        

For the most part, writers write what they know.  The world of celebrity is all Sofia Coppola has ever known – thanks to her father being film legend Francis Ford Coppola.  So, it’s not a surprise this transfers onto her films.

Coppola has directed a total of six films.  Her most successful to date has been Lost in Translation.  For this film, she won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.



The film explores themes of isolation, celebrity, and anxiety.  These themes are present in two of her other films: Somewhere and Marie Antoinette.



Her films are beautifully shot, and the cinematography makes the most ordinary of views look scenic.  The way she shoots the women in her films doing the most mundane of activities leaves us all wishing we could look as gracious when looking out a taxi window.



However, the people she depicts in her films are not from a wide pool of diversity.  It’s people of white descent facing some sort of marginalized situation to move the plot forward.  Never are their situations something that would be encountered in the “real-world.”



For example, Lost in Translation is a about a budding friendship between an older man with a waning acting career and a young woman just out of college.  Both wander around a five star Japanese hotel contemplating their purpose in the world.  While the story is relatable, their social status makes the story less universal.



Marie Antoinette is about the infamous French queen.  Coppola makes it a point to depict the decadence of the young queen’s life, but she chooses to exclude the obvious turmoil that being married off at a young age would cause.  There are snippets of that, but the lack of a compelling script trickles the film down to a waifish Kirsten Dunst (in the title role) eating candy and buying fancy shoes.



The hardest film to watch from the three is, without a doubt Somewhere.  It is a story about an actor father and a daughter.  The plot is virtually nonexistent.



Neither character grows from their experience of being around each other.  Instead we get a five-minute sequence of the daughter ice skating to Gwen Stefani’s song Cool.  The title seems fitting as we don’t exactly ever land anywhere and instead are left somewhere wondering what we just watched.



Though Coppola’s films are aesthetically pleasing to watch, they are essentially vapid in terms of script and plot.  Characters don’t have a fulfilling arc, and ultimately only exist to indulge in their exuberant lives.


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