“I try to just make what I want to make or what I would want to see. I try not to think about the audience too much.”
What does a director do to escape the shadow of her father who directed The Godfather? Her own thing. Sofia Coppola (1971-) is known for her art house films that delve into characters and emotions like no others. Her films, while brilliant, are admittedly not for everyone. And that’s alright, because films for everyone rarely reach as deep into emotions as hers do. She’s doing her own thing, and that means she’s making movies quite unlike anybody else is.
As I said, she’s the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. She grew up on movie sets and actually appears in all three Godfather movies, including her infamous role in the third that helped steer her toward writing and directing and away from acting (which she admittedly never wanted to do). She gets the film medium and uses it to tell amazing stories that aren’t being told by anyone else.
Lost in Translation (2003)
Undoubtedly Coppola’s greatest work, Lost in Translation tells a story where complex feelings and relationships defy explanation. Finding someone else who understands without saying a word is like finally seeing the picture on the box for a puzzle you’ve been trying to piece together—there’s still a lot left to solve, but now at least you know it all means something. This is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite movies.
Marie Antoinette, written and directed by Coppola and met with some scorn from viewers and critics, does an amazing job of humanizing France’s most infamous queen beyond what most period biopics do. The goal was never to recreate France in the late 1700s—it was to make the young queen relatable to audiences today. Modern language and some modern music make this a uniquely fresh view on a political figure who’s been dead over 200 years.
Coppola also wrote and directed other films, such as The Virgin Suicides (1999), The Bling Ring (2013), and The Beguiled (2017), most of which were met with mixed reviews from general audiences, although still filled with her trademark emotional depth and complexity.