Film, Film Review

REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020) dir. Sofia Coppola

Coppola's latest is perfectly fine... that's all!


EDITOR’S NOTE: As longtime readers will know, the Hassle believes in the magic of the theatrical experience, and eagerly awaits the day when we can safely return to our local cinemas. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, we cannot in good conscience encourage our readers to attend indoor movie screenings at this moment in time. While the following film is currently playing exclusively in theaters, we urge you to err on the side of caution; this review is for informational purposes, and will still be here when the movie premieres on AppleTV+ on 10/23. In the meantime, we encourage you as always to support your local theater via donations, gift cards, or virtual screening rentals. Be safe out there, and when the time comes, we’ll see you at the movies.

Everyone seemingly has a different take on Sofia Coppola’s work – that’s what makes her an auteur filmmaker. Her work harnesses ennui in a manner that vexes many directors like her. Whether you love Lost in Translation or can’t stand it, a new offering from the director is worth paying attention to, especially when her latest reunites her with Bill Murray. On the Rocks is not positioning itself as a revolutionary story. It is sweet, slight, charming, and not much beyond that. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Coppola has gifted us a nice movie to watch in the comfort of our homes, and isn’t that enough sometimes?

Laura (Rashida Jones) is in a bit of a rut. Sure, she has two lovely kids, a beautiful SoHo apartment, and a great husband (Marlon Wayans), but she’s struggling to write the book she recently sold. And that great husband… may or may not be hiding something from her. There’s also the issue of her larger-than-life father Felix (Bill Murray) who wants her to investigate Dean’s recent work trips. Felix is a sly bachelor who everyone falls in love with at first sight, a fact Laura admires but mostly resents. Together, father and daughter work to crack the case and save Laura’s life from total implosion. Also, Jenny Slate plays an annoying mom always talking Laura’s ear off. She’s great.

That’s about it! There’s a silly chase scene in Felix’s tiny red convertible, Felix and Laura end up in Mexico, but nothing outsized or shocking happens. On the Rocks is farcical and unintentionally poignant in its depiction of a carefree Manhattan lifestyle. I prefer it to Coppola’s last directorial effort The Beguiled, which was too morose and could have used more camp. Jones and Murray make a nice team, landing the emotional beats when called for. Overall, the film is as fizzy as the name implies.

On the Rocks
dir. Sofia Coppola
97 min

Opens 10/2 at Landmark Kendall Cinemas and on Apple TV + on 10/23

Right now Boston’s most beloved theaters need your help to survive. If you have the means, the Hassle strongly recommends making a donation, purchasing a gift card, or becoming a member at the Brattle Theatre, Coolidge Corner Theatre, and/or the Somerville Theatre. Keep film alive, y’all.

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