Some of the meddling reactions to "On the Rocks" coming out of its first screening at NYFF are both surprising and predictable at the same time. Sorry for the oxymoron but I'll explain why this is.
You see, I thought people would be more warm to Sofia Coppola's next film because it's a film filled with her flair that has made her one of the most interesting and unique voices working in film. However, I also realized watching the movie this is the most "rich elite" people problem movie I've seen in a while. It's full of nice cars, beautiful houses and exquisite dining. The movie just feels like walking into a Chanel store.
However, I can't help and feel like this was a lot like Sofia's upbringing. She is the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola she would probably never have to work a day for the rest of her life. Yet, before this film she likes to take a look at characters who aren't quite as self assured. In The Vigin Suicides she focuses on a cast that comes from a tight knit community and Lost in Translation she follows two characters who are lost in translation in two different times in their lives. On the Rocks focuses on two characters who have family strains but both are now living in the most luxurious of lifestyles. The characters here have emotional issues and the father daughter relationship is obviously strained but these characters aren't tortured.
I found that to be an interesting aspect of the film however- these characters felt like archetypes I'm sure Sofia knows and has talked to. The dialogue in this film is so sharp and witty and I laughed several times. I found the film to be incredibly heartwarming in the right spots as well. As far as cinematic scope and scale when it comes to an emotional palette- this doesn't reach nearly as far as Coppola's best films but it's emotions are so layered and subtle that I left the film feeling a combination of joy and wistfulness. In that respect- it felt like Coppola was back creating her multi layered films just in a lot more simple package this time.
I'll say the one big issue with the film I have is the ending. I'm not really sure at the end of the day what the film is trying to say. I also find some of the relationships of the film- well unsatisfying when the conclusion happened. I felt like there could have been a bit more to chew on. With that being said- I still think we get fully rounded characters and the amount of dead space this film uses to explore character depth and relationships is such a breath of fresh air. I thought this movie was great and I hope it grows on people as time goes on.