Meet Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff nails the look, lifestyle and sudden loneliness). The A-list actor has it all: eager women, a busy schedule, unending booze, wheels to die for and upscale digs. To keep him on schedule, out of the press for the wrong reasons but all over the media for the voracious marketing machine, the frequent fornicator is kept on a tight, ever-patient leash by Marge (Amanda Anka has just the right tone as the thankless gatekeeper). Who could ask for anything more?
Cleo (Elle Fanning shows understanding and emotional range well-beyond her tender years), Johnny’s 11-year-old daughter, that’s who.
Dropped on the Hollywood bad boy’s doorstep by a suddenly vanishing mom, the forced father-daughter relationship takes stage, demonstrating yet again how inventively creative director/writer Sofia Coppola is. The film flies by in a series of carefully integrated scenes that aptly details why so many “stars” excel on the screen (pretending to be others) while failing to get a call-back in the real-life drama of their true selves. The tabloids send every calamity far over the top but—as witness the drug dependencies, high divorce rate and tragic suicides—where there’s smoke, there is fire.
Coppola knows this: slipping in “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” as Marco’s internal dilemma gets the upper hand is just one example of brilliant filmmaking that is a most welcome breath of fresh air in this season of “For Your Consideration.” JWR