I understand the love for Lost in Translation but it never connected with me. My pick is The Virgin Suicides: its dreamy, unsettling atmosphere still haunts me, 17 years later.
Cheers from Argentina.
I've seen Lost In Translation twice and can barely remember everything about it. Her best film is The Bling Ring, and it's not even particularly close, though Somewhere is also excellent.
I have never understood the love for Lost in Translation. That movie bored me to tears. Marie Antoinette was okay, but not great. But I absolutely love The Virgin Suicides. It may be the best movie made by most of its stars (Kirsten Dunst, Josh Hartnett, James Woods, Kathleen Turner. Even for Giovanni Ribisi, who was the Narrator.)
Honestly, I've never really connected to Lost in Translation. Bling Ring is my pick.
The Virgin Suicides will always be my favorite Sofia Coppola film. It's one of my favorite films. I saw it in high school, and it's one of a handful of films that was monumental in forming my passion for film, and film discussion and writing. It had such an effect on me that it even depressed me, and for a movie to have that strong of an emotional reaction is a sign for me of a great movie. It has a dreamlike style (helped by the score/soundtrack), and an absolutely haunting performance by Kirsten Dunst, which helped me form a celebrity crush on her. I feel like over the years it's been somewhat buried a bit, and I think it's highly underrated.
On another note, I don't think this is very fair. We all know that to even include Lost in Translation is going to guarantee it's win, so it should've been left out. It seems like Lost in Translation is one of those films that people have a strong feeling towards, whether on one end of the spectrum or the other. I've heard some people think it's life-changing, one of the best films of all time. And I've heard other dismiss it with a groan, finding it to be dull and pointless. Personally, I'm one of the rare people that come down the middle. Ehh....it's fine. Despite that Bill Murray is usually my hero, I actually think I like the soundtrack more than the film.
SOMEWHERE. "Lost in Translation" is a lovely, sophisticated film and I completely understand why it's generally Coppola's most admired film. The one I've seen the most is the effervescent, witty and altogether terrific "Marie Antoinette." It's terrific. Unless "The Beguiled" blows me away, however, it's likely I'll go to my grave defending "Somewhere," something of a disregarded stepchild but in my estimation, a total gem. Coppola has a wonderful knack for observing the emotional lives of her characters, but she also favors a mannered style that creates a hypnotic distance. If the stylish "Translation" and "Antionette" feel a little impersonal at times, the understated "Somewhere" is overflowing with humanity. It's the director's most intimate film. Stephen Dorff's character might be a Hollywood actor who whisks his daughter from the Chateau Marmont to Milan, but with his spotty grooming, his social awkwardness, his busted arm and his fundamental lack of charisma, he's immediately human and a little pitiable. He's not pitiable in an arch fashion, like Norma Desmond or George Valentin, but a mundane, modern sad sack, relatable and sympathetic. Johnny might share an elevator with Benicio del Toro, but he's an ordinary guy who has mediocre sex, plays video games, and disappoints his friends.
The one person who completely, utterly believes in Johnny Marco, despite his mediocrity, is Elle Fanning's Cleo. It's an utterly convincing father-daughter relationship: unsullied by cynicism or adolescent disdain, she's that poised child who simply loves her dad enough to forgive him his lack of focus, his carelessness, and his unreliability. The people in Sofia Coppola's films often seem transfixed as life passes them by. Here, however, is a curve ball: Johnny Marco, bored and boring, sets down his privilege/ennui cocktail to simply enjoy time with his kid, and I find it honest and emotionally engaging as hell.
I admire the dramatic arc and exotic, art-directed veil of Coppola's other projects, but I wish she'd make more pictures like "Somewhere."
Marie Antoinette. To this day, I don't think it's just my favourite of hers but also her best, most masterfully crafted film.
I remember seeing a published version of the script for Marie Antoinette in a book store once, and saw that the ending initially had a note along the lines of "fade to black as the sound of the guillotine dropping echoes". I am so glad Coppola never actually followed through with that choice in the finished product. What makes Coppola such a unique and satisfying filmmaker for me are her patience and keen eye for elegant yet effortless stylistic choices, and nowhere have those been better expressed than in Marie Antoinette.
The Bling Ring is one of the best movies of the decade so far.
Age of Innocence
Lost in Translation is a wonderful, personal film. However, I'd make the case for Somewhere. Much of this film is dependent upon actors who wouldn't normally rise to the top of the A list, like Stephen Dorff and Chris Pontius (of Jackass). It's a wonderful example of her collaboration with the great Harris Savides who creates a lot of empty transitory spaces. The relationship between Dorff's Johnny and Elle Fanning's Cleo feels genuine. My point is to say that Coppola does much more with less than Lost, when she had Murray, Johansson, Ribisi and even Anna Farris to drive the plot.
While I still fully expect LOST IN TRANSLATION to win the day, MARIE ANTOINETTE is the only film of Coppola's to fully transport me to another place and time. I would dare ANYONE to find a film that has a better production and costume design. I would dare anyone to find a film that so expertly combines the old and the new in such exciting and invigorating ways. I watch this film more than any of her others, and it never fails to awe me with its ambition, scope, and precision. It's a masterpiece.