by Zoë Pollock

Richard Rushfield dismays at Sofia Coppola's oeuvre and her latest film, Somewhere, an agonizingly slow account of a bored actor's stay in the Chateau Marmont hotel in L.A.:

In three luxury hotel films, there is nary a shot of that oldest of tropes, the servant quarters, not even a wink at the Upstairs, Downstairs dichotomy of these worlds that so bore their protagonists. Instead, in Somewhere’s most cringe-inducing scene, the one moment in any of her films when a servant actually becomes a character, a Chateau Marmont waiter is permitted to sully the frame so that he may serenade Stephen Dorff and daughter Elle Fanning, in a moment highly suggestive of a plantation minstrel show for the massa and his family. ...

Once upon a time, the sight of a man walking across the screen of an independent film in a $500 silk shirt was immediate shorthand for the presence of evil.  One might as well have cued the Darth Vader theme music when such a figure appeared, walking on, in all likelihood, to lay off the film’s hero from his dead end job, provoking his journey of self-discovery.  Now the man in the $500 shirt is likely to be the film’s hero, and if anything we are meant to feel sympathy for the emptiness all that glitters brings.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.