On The Rocks – Review

Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 36 minutes, Director – Sofia Coppola

Suspecting that her husband (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her, Laura (Rashida Jones) somehow enlists the help of her playboy father (Bill Murray) to find out the truth behind his various business trips

It may seem hard to believe but, Bill Murray’s only Academy Award nomination is for his performance in Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation. A magnificent turn that many were sure could have earned him the win, if it wasn’t for Sean Penn in Mystic River. Almost seventeen years later we could finally see him gain a second nod for his first feature collaboration – Netflix’s A Very Murray Christmas aside – with the writer-director in that time.

Although, while Murray shines throughout the film, the focus is definitely not on his character. Instead we follow Rashida Jones’ Laura. A mother of two who begins to suspect that her husband (a highly restrained and subtle Marlon Wayans – far away from the loud, spoof comedy performances that many of us have likely become use to from him over the years) is having an affair. He regularly flies off to other countries on business trips with his co-worker Fiona (Jessica Henwick). As she becomes increasingly worried and suspicious Laura finds herself somehow enlisting the help of her playboy father, Felix (Murray), to help get to the bottom of what’s really happening.

Murray and Jones’ chemistry throughout is fantastic. Beat for beat they match each other, creating a genuine bond that brings the viewer into the charmingly lit world of the film, assisted by Philippe Le Sourd’s warm and effective cinematography; having previously worked on Coppola’s The Beguiled. Two award worthy performances that bring about the many laughs – particularly around the somehow charming forwardness to and about the women Felix encounters – with a finely tuned sprinkling of emotion elsewhere. All bringing about the fact that this is a film about people just being themselves. Humans being humans, connecting and conversing with other humans. Admittedly rather wealthy humans who personally know the concierges of the best hotels in London, but still these characters feel real. Never stepping anywhere near the thought of exaggeration just for the purposes of entertainment.

You find yourself brought in for an enjoyable time. Into a piece of irresistible escapism. It’s hard not to have a large smile spread across your face, not just for a few seconds but for entire scenes and stretches of time. Simply caught up within the central father-daughter relationship that pushes the story further, allowing you to further connect with that also. Everything spring-boarding from Sofia Coppola’s fantastic screenplay; captured through her, as ever, expert direction. From start to finish of the gently flowing 96 minute run-time you invest in the central relationship that helps form the events of the film for an almost perfect story about human behaviour and responses, worries and joys.

Murray and Jones are sensational in the lead roles of Sofia Coppola’s latest hit. Bringing to life a top screenplay and creating an irresistibly inviting world that you can’t help but be caught up in. A pure escapist delight that manages to feel genuine and real.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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