Rated 4.0

Writer-director Sofia Coppola’s new film reintroduces the lost art of the great movie opening. The greatness of the rest of the film will be subject to debate, as per usual with Coppola, but its beginning is the perfectly correct, simply cinematic, literally character-driven overture to the movie at hand. Stephen Dorff plays a young Hollywood actor whose success has burned him out, and Elle Fanning plays the sensitive preteen daughter who wants to reconnect with him. It’s a pleasure and maybe a relief to see how gracefully Coppola navigates the perpetually crowded playing field of insider Hollywood satire, making good use of her Spartan, gently ironic aesthetic and wisely acknowledging that in this milieu the satire will take care of itself. Besides, what really matters here is the ineffability of human connection and the unlikely advancement of a (presumed autobiographical) father-daughter rapport. The movie might come across as merely an assembly of fine touches—and yes, people might say the same of Coppola’s whole career—but that doesn’t make the touches any less fine.