Friday, October 16, 2020

On the Rocks

Sofia Coppola: On the Rocks (2020). Father (Bill Murray) and daughter (Rashida Jones).

US © 2020 SC International Corp. P: Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley. EX: Roman Coppola, Mitch Glazer, Fred Roos. Co-P: Caroline Jaczko.
    D+SC: Sofia Coppola. Cin: Philippe Le Sourd – negative: 35 mm – colour – 1,85:1 – master format: 4K digital intermediate – theatrical release: D-Cinema. PD: Anne Ross. AD: Jennifer Dehghan. Set dec: Amy Beth Silver. Cost: Stacey Battat. Makeup: Evelyne Noraz. Hair: April Schuller. SFX: Benjy Harris. VFX: Dan Bornstein (Powerhouse VFX). M: Phoenix. S: Richard Beggs, Roy Waldspurger. ED: Sarah Flack. Casting: Courtney Bright, Nicole Daniels, Allison Hall.
    C: Bill Murray (Felix), Rashida Jones (Laura), Marlon Wayans (Dean).
    With: Jessica Henwick (Fiona), Jenny Slate (Vanessa), Barbara Bain (Gran).
    Soundtrack listing includes: Franz Schubert: Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3 (D. 899/3) in Ges-Dur, perf. Alfred Brendel.
    Festival premiere: 22 Sep 2020 New York Film Festival.
    US premiere (limited): 2 Oct 2020.
    Finnish premiere (limited): 9 Oct 2020, distributed by Storyhill with Finnish subtitles only by Jari Vikström.
    Digital streaming premiere (Apple TV+): 23 Oct 2020.
    Viewed at Kino Engel 1, Helsinki, 16 Oct 2020.
AA: I have loved Sofia Coppola's films since I saw The Virgin Suicides (1999), a haunting masterpiece of "the class of 1999". It displayed rare insight in the mystery of life, the agony of being young, repression in general and an urgently topical pain that was also being expressed in school killings. 1999 was the year of the Columbine High School massacre.

Coppola's reputation kept growing in original studies of alienation such as Lost in Translation (2003) and Somewhere (2010).

For me, On the Rocks is the second peak of the director. The Virgin Suicides was a tragedy of youth. On the Rocks is a mature drama. The Virgin Suicides enchanted me with a mesmerizing spell. On the Rocks convinces me with a sonority of experience.

I usually take a lot of notes while watching films. Tonight I sat in the first row of Kino Engel 1 and was so moved by the intensity that I failed to take notes.

Laura (Rashida Jones) is a soon 40 years old mother of two little children. She is a writer with a lucrative contract, but, working at home, she has a hard time concentrating. She is having a bad case of a writer's block.

Meanwhile, her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is enjoying great success as a businessman. Increasingly, he is staying out late and travelling abroad, usually with his trusted colleague Fiona (Jessica Henwick).

Laura is not the jealous type, but she is getting suspicious, and the suspicions are instigated by her incorrigible father Felix (Bill Murray), who at 70 is still living an eternal youth as a freewheeling bon vivant playboy.

Laura views her own perceptions with a healthy dose of scepticism. "What if we find out that Dean is just busy and I'm in a rut"?

On the Rocks proceeds as a tragicomical detective story about jealousy and suspicion. There is a perfectly logical explanation to all suspicious clues, and the jealousy turns out to be groundless.

During the adventure it becomes clear that traditional gender roles are still very much alive. Laura is going nowhere while Dean and Felix have all the freedoms.

Dean remains unknown, unexplained, mysterious. He can accomplish anything, but we learn nothing about him, his background or his thoughts, beyond success in business. Might it be that because he is not secure about fully belonging, he compensates by focusing on success so much that he neglects wife and family?

The absence is filled by Felix. Felix is the love of Laura's life, and Laura is the greatest love of Felix. For him, everything else is a flirt. But the crisis of jealousy urges Dean to change. A symbolic gesture is the birthday gift of a Cartier watch: Laura withdraws the one from her father and puts on the one from Dean.

Like in her previous films, Sofia Coppola both relishes and satirizes the good life, the life of luxury, the glorious illusion.

Like in Somewhere, there is a moment of classical music that seems to crystallize a dimension of eternity. In this film, it is Schubert's Impromptu, Opus 90 Number 3, played by Alfred Brendel.

Another similar moment is the revelation of a rare Monet painting. Felix is a de luxe art dealer with wide expertise in such treasuries.

Sofia Coppola keeps shooting on 35 mm, and channeled via a sophisticated 4K digital intermediate, the rich, vivid detail is conveyed even in D-Cinema.



IMDb: "A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York."

"Laura (Rashida Jones) uskoo olevansa onnellisesti naimisissa, mutta kun aviomies Dean (Marlon Wayans) alkaa viihtyä toimistolla iltamyöhään uuden työtoverinsa kanssa, Laura alkaa pelätä pahinta. Laura kysyy neuvoa näitä asioita ymmärtävältä mieheltä. Tämä on hänen hurmaava, impulsiivinen isänsä Felix (Bill Murray), jonka vaatimuksesta parivaljakko ryhtyy tutkimaan asiaa. Väijyessään aviomiestä New Yorkin yössä esikaupunkibileistä keskustan in-paikkoihin niin isä kuin tytärkin saa huomata, että matkan ytimessä onkin heidän oma suhteensa.

Sofia Coppola ja miespääosaa esittävä Bill Murray tekivät yhteistyötä viimeksi maailmanmenestystä niittäneessä Lost in Translation -elokuvassa. Naispääosassa nähdään Rashida Jones, musiikkilegenda Quincy Jonesin tytär

Plot from Wikipedia (but I think the author of this misunderstands key moments such as the bedroom scene in the second paragraph)

"After their wedding and a romantic honeymoon, Laura (Rashida Jones) and Dean (Marlon Wayans) start a family in New York with Dean starting to become a successful businessman and entrepreneur. They are raising two girls, one in preschool and the other in grade school and attending ballet class. They seem to be getting ahead in the world as a family but Laura is feeling the years going by. She is approaching 40 and has not fulfilled many of her professional career dreams of becoming a writer. Dean at the same time seems to be a growing success in his office and is surrounded by young and attractive co-workers.

One night, Dean approaches her in their own bedroom after the children's bedtime to start a romantic kiss when she suddenly ambiguously says "hello friend" to him, which he takes as a signal that she is not receptive to him at that moment and he backs away and goes to bed. The next day she is confused by her own feelings about why she was unresponsive to him and seems to feel that something has not been the same in their marriage for a least several months. She starts to wonder if she is now adequate to their marriage and Dean's growing success. Apparently starting to doubt herself she calls her successfully rich though wayward playboy father (Bill Murray) for advice and he agrees to stop by her apartment to pick her up for lunch in order to talk.

At lunch at an expensive restaurant, her father casually flirts with the waitresses and other female customers at the restaurant at random. Laura tells him her story and he asks her if she suspects that Dean is being unfaithful. She says she does not think so but that Dean does work with an attractive and young co-worker, Fiona, with whom he seems to spend a lot of extra time. Her father warns her that all men are the same and not to be trusted. He tells her that he will prepare to investigate the situation and will report to her. He advises her to check Dean's phone log on his mobile to see if he has been calling any phone numbers of women more than once or twice a day.

Reluctantly, Laura does check Dean's phone and finds no abnormal pattern of phone call behavior. She later meets again with her father who says he has news from his investigation. They meet again and her father says he has photographs which he has hired a photographer to take of Dean which he is prepared to show her. He says that the 8-by-10 glossy photographs are in a plain manila envelope which he hands to her. She opens the envelope and finds a glossy photograph of Dean eating a hamburger by himself at his office desk, and another glossy photograph of Dean standing on the street by himself and hailing a cab. She tells her father that these photographs are meaningless and he agrees but tells her that his investigator also saw Dean go shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York at Cartier's exclusive jewelry store and asks her if Dean has recently given her a gift from Cartier. She says no and her father adds that the investigator has found out that Dean is planning a trip to a Mexican resort soon. She admits that she knows nothing about the Mexico trip at all and that Dean has told her nothing about it. Her father is doubly suspicious now and tells her to redouble her observations of her husband's activities.

The next day Dean announces to her that he forgot to tell her of a trip to Mexico which has come up and that he will be out of town for a few days. After Dean departs, Laura's thoughts ignite with suspicion when she hears that Dean is leaving for the Mexico trip with his co-worker Fiona as his assistant on the "business trip". Laura calls her father again, who tells her they must secretly depart for Mexico to spy on Dean and find out once and for all if Dean is cheating on her. They soon arrive in Mexico after Laura leaves the children with her mother and continue their investigation of Dean, now in Mexico. At the end of the first day in the evening, they spot a female figure standing in her robe at the window in Dean's room at the resort. Laura goes ballistic in anger and tells her father that she must go to confront Dean with the discovery that there is a woman in his room at night. When she arrives at Dean's room, however, Fiona comes out and with surprise welcomes Laura to Mexico asking her why she is in Mexico. Laura asks where Dean is and Fiona tells her that Dean left early from the business trip to go back to New York in order to be with her for Laura's birthday. When Fiona came out of her room, Laura could see that she was with her LGBT partner with whom she was staying during the Mexico trip. Laura heads back to New York.

She finds Dean back home, and Dean has figured out that her secret trip to Mexico could only have occurred because she was harboring suspicions about him. They manage to patch things up and go out to a nice restaurant to bring things back to normal. During the diner, Dean surprises her with a fancy gift in a small red box. It is Cartier watch with a gold bracelet which she puts on immediately. In the process of putting on Dean's watch, she takes off the vintage watch her father had previously given her as a recognition that Dean is the main man in her life now
." (plot from Wikipedia)

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