Movie Review: Albert Kodagolian’s “Somewhere Beautiful” Is A Marvel Of Beauty But Lacks Heft

“I enjoyed watching the film, but it left no real impact. A quiet admiration maybe, but nothing powerful enough to stir me.”


 

When the one thing we love most slips through our fingers, we are left helpless spectators of our own fate.

An homage to Atom Egoyan’s 1993 “Calendar,” Kodagolian’s “Somewhere Beautiful” reflects upon the dissolution of two separate relationships. One such relationship mirrors the relationship in Egoyan’s “Calendar,” and the other is between a photographer/filmmaker, Albert, played by Kodagolian himself, and his wife who has left him to be a single father to their daughter Zoe. While Kodagolian’s “Somewhere Beautiful” can be soulful and profoundly beautiful, at the same time it seems void of profundity. I enjoyed watching the film, but it left no real impact. A quiet admiration maybe, but nothing powerful enough to stir me. It reminded me of a Lars von Trier film without any punch whatsoever.

With its non-linear structure, it is as if you are dropped into these people’s lives and left to put the pieces together as you well as you can decipher them. It starts out in Los Angeles, where Rachel (Robyn Buck) has decided to leave her filmmaker husband Albert (Albert Kodagolian), much to the shock of Albert himself. He is left to figure out how to exist in the world with his toddler daughter, Zoe. Throughout his narrative, we hear Rachel’s voice as messages to Albert’s phone requesting that they talk. The distance between them is felt, the coldness and isolation comes through in the clinical tones of Albert’s Los Angeles home. Albert decides to hire a nanny and settles on Matilda (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz), who is young and who has had a past checkered with indecisiveness.

The relationship between Albert and Matilda is very subdued but delicately viable. You see the subtlety of a new dawning between them. There’s a connection but it’s not submerged in the overtly sexual.

In Argentina, in the region of Patagonia, an American photographer (Anthony Bonaventura) is shooting the natural landscapes of the breathtaking region (a very “Clouds of Sils Maria” vibe) and his girlfriend Elena (Maria Alche) is there as a translator between him and the guide (Pablo Cedron). Maria Alche is the highlight of the film. Her movements and expressions are poetic, revealing all that needs to be known without saying a word. She’s truly mesmerizing. The budding relationship between her and the guide is sweetly innocent as it is intimate. The chemistry between them is thick in the air much to the dismay of her boyfriend.

The two stories of the love triangles never intertwine. They stand alone in their own reflections, passing through a thinly veiled space between end and beginning. It’s beautiful. I could reflect on the beauty of individual scenes all day long, obsess over them even, but as a whole, the film falls flat. There’s no impact, it gently washes over you and passes into oblivion.

In select theaters Friday, April 21st


 

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