On the Rocks (2020)

Sofia Coppola returns to contemporary urban filmmaking in this charming indie about marriages and affairs as a young mother and her womanising father try to make sense of the trajectory of their current lives.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Dir. Sofia Coppola
2020 | USA | Comedy/Drama | 96 mins | 1.85:1 | English
M18 (passed clean) for some language/sexual references

Cast: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans
Plot: A young mother reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York.
Awards: –
Distributor: A24

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Father-Daughter, Marriage, Affair
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream

Viewed: The Projector
Spoilers: No

On the Rocks sees Sofia Coppola going back to her Lost in Translation (2003) roots (though it is closer in spirit to 2010’s Somewhere) as she returns to contemporary urban filmmaking in this charming indie. 

Rashida Jones is Laura, a young mother with two kids in tow and a husband who appears to be way too busy at work, raising some suspicion that he might be having an extramarital affair. 

Bill Murray is Felix, Laura’s high-flying womanising father, visibly aged but still flirting with the opposite sex at any opportunity.  He drops in to reacquaint with his daughter, only to become her ‘private investigator’ as he quizzically insists on getting to the bottom of the ‘affair’. 

With sharp writing and a good dose of dry humour, Coppola develops an idiosyncratic father-daughter narrative that loosely resembles a road movie of sorts, where it is about the journey that these ‘buddies’ take together, rather than the final destination. 

Murray and Jones are in fine form as their characters try to make sense of the trajectory of their current lives, with Felix’s (failed) marriage and (not-so) secret past affair still causing a strain in their relationship.  The film is also about a daughter accepting that her father may not necessarily always be an important figure in her future adult life. 

Backed by a soundtrack that is sometimes invigorating, sometimes melancholic, On the Rocks doesn’t pretend to be a great film; in fact, it is one of Coppola’s most sincere and laidback efforts, and a lovely movie to chill and wind down to.

Grade: B+



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