Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Visual Reviews: Sophia Coppola


Of all the new generation auteurs that have their legions of fans, Sophia Coppola may be my favorite.  She's at least, in my eyes, the most consistent.  Her four previous films have all garnered some sort of love from the Fisti's, even netting a few wins (and she's been nominated twice for Best Director from me) and having just witnessed 'The Bling Ring' yesterday I can say that I'm anticipating quite the showing in the 2013 Fisti Awards for sure.  But one amendment I'd like to make, or at least one giant misstep I'd like to address, is that I've never given her films the due they deserve in the cinematography category.  Yes, I nominated 'Marie Antoinette' (it was my runner-up) but 'The Virgin Suicides' and 'Somewhere' didn't even make my top twelve, which is really shocking to me.  How did I miss those?  Honestly, after a rewatch I may even consider 'The Virgin Suicides' for the WIN in 2000!  

UGH, we can't get them all right all the time.

Still, this series is dedicated to using the visual to flesh out the core of an auteurs filmography.  I select directors who have a knack for visual style and whose resumes I've seen entirely.  You can see the previous entries here.  

Coppola's films are a visual bounty, but not only that, I kind of love all these films.  I consider 'Lost in Translation' and 'The Bling Ring' masterpieces (yes, I know it's an early call on 'The Bling Ring', but I just can't shake it) and feel that 'Marie Antoinette' and 'The Virgin Suicides' are outstanding pieces of modern filmmaking.  'Somewhere' is the only film I'm less that ecstatic about, and even at that it is a staple piece of Coppola's art that one should savor regardless.

So, without further ado; the reviews:



The Virgin Suicides (2000) *****/*****
Ethereal (stolen from Josh)

Minutely detailed...

Romanticized depiction of obsession...

Brutally honest...

Haunting...


Lost in Translation (2003) *****/*****

Pure in its intimacy...

Mesmerizing (stolen from Josh)

Naturally awkward and charming...

Has so much to say...

Heartbreaking...

Marie Antoinette (2006) *****/*****

Bold depictions of loss of self...

Lush (stolen from Josh)

Articulate and mannered...

Free spirited...

Cheeky...

Somewhere (2010) ****/*****

Searching for something more...

Playful and charming...

Slightly redundant in themes...

Restrained (stolen from Josh)

An admirable effort...

The Bling Ring (2013) *****/*****
Self obsessed...

Brilliantly 'recreated'...

Playful (stolen from Josh)

Like lipstick on a pig...

Alluring...

10 comments:

  1. Nice job with this post. Coppola is a wonderful visual filmmaker and always does great work her set design. Some of her themes are sometimes too obvious (particularly in Somewhere), but even that has a lot going for it. I'm definitely interested in seeing The Bling Ring.

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    1. When I first saw Somewhere I felt as if it were a poor man's 'Lost in Translation'. It seemed to speak to many of the same themes and yet didn't have the same purity that made the former so moving. After a recent rewatch, I've come around to appreciating it more as a complement than a copycat, but it is still the weakest link in her otherwise outstanding resume.

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  2. Fantastic post! Thanks for the mentions. :) I love her work as well, but The Bling Ring and The Virgin Suicides are her "worst" (4/5) films for me at the moment. I think her best ones are Lost in Translation and Somewhere, with Marie Antoinette just behind. Perhaps it's the similarities of LiT and Somewhere, but I've always considered the latter a great film. I probably feel the same way about it as you feel about The Bling Ring. :)

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    1. Just LOVE her filmography to death! I could honestly watch any of her films any time and be completely happy about it.

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  3. Being the requisite expert in all things Sofia Coppola as I've now seen all of them including her short film Lick the Star. You pretty much nailed every description about her films as they are just truly gorgeous but also fun to watch. That's why she's my favorite filmmaker... ever.

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    1. She's up there for me. Like I said, out of the current auteurs, she's probably my favorite. Lost in Translation would rank in my Top Twenty films of all time. I can't wait to see what she does next :-D

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  4. This post is tremendous--Sophia certainly is the Queen of visuals! The Bling Ring was my most anticipated for summer, and while I only rated it a 3/5, I'm going back to see it for all the little details I may have overlooked. I wanted more character development...somewhere. But in regard to the cinematography, script and the moral lesson of what our society has become, Coppola reigns top notch.

    "I’m left with a deepened sadness for the state of our society as a whole." My friends and I felt like this as soon as the credits rolled! I don't think this film will rank as highly and as influential as The Social Network, but it speaks volumes.

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    1. I'd be interested to hear what you have to say after a rewatch. Yeah, 'The Social Network' comment may have been a tad extreme, but at the moment that is how it sat with me.

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  5. Love this one, man. And I really love your minimalist approach to these posts. Pick a visually gifted director and highlight the visuals. I so need to see Somewhere and The Bling Ring soon. I lost touch with Sophia over the last few years. Need to catch up. I couldn't agree more about your assessment of The Virgin Suicides. The detail in that movie is immaculate and it has haunted me for 15 years now.

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    1. So glad you decided to check these out! I hope you reconnect with her. She's one of my very favorite directors, ever!

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