April 14, 2024

ON THE ROCKS (2020) – Sofia and Bill are back and perfect

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The name Sofia Coppola alone makes On The Rocks a must see and reason enough to rejoice. The names Bill Murray AND Sofia Coppola together again makes this like a double celebration! Their last collaboration way back in 2003 for Lost in Translation resulted in a Best Screenplay Academy Award for Writer/Director Sofia Coppola and nominations for Best Actor (Bill Murray), Best Director and Best Picture! While On The Rocks may not match the scale and originality of Lost in Translation, it is no less entertaining and delightful in its subtle and unassuming manner.

On The Rocks has a simple story about Laura, a young woman living in New York whose marriage begins to show signs of possible issues. She confides in her flamboyant and protective father who influences her to treat the signs seriously and goes on to investigate on her suspicions using questionable means. Rashida Jones  is not a familiar face or name but she nevertheless gives a low key yet realistic and sensitive performance and to her credit, does not get over-shadowed by Bill Murray’s infectiously performance as her charming and suave father. Like Woody Allen movies, On The Rocks heavily relies on this script to carry the film through as it introduces us to a dysfunctional family. The fast dialouge here is never boring and like all great scripts, manages to craft these interesting characters that simply comes alive on screen. This means that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea as nothing much appears to happen where in fact a lot is covered simply through its script! Sofia is of course the real life daughter of the great Francis Ford Coppola and we can imagine how she identifies with the main character of Laura here on her struggles in living under the shadow of her father’s greatness. In real life Sofia has of course achieved significant successes in her career and should have no reasons to feel inferior to her father. Still, one can imagine where she got her inspiration from in developing the character of Laura here.

On The Rocks may seem a bit lowbrow and conventional for someone with Sofia who have given us such complex essays like The Beguiled, Somewhere, Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides. Some may even complain and argue about the film’s rather optimistic ending, but I for one relish this as something most welcome in times where everything seems so bleak. Sometimes less need not necessarily be a bad thing.

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