Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks marks the return of her creative partnership with the brilliant Bill Murray (who was last worked with the director on Lost in Translation). The last time these two worked together, it was magic, and the film garnered tremendous phrase and significant buzz during award season. Coppola’s direction seemingly brings out a side of Murray most director’s can not. Is it her understanding of Murray’s approach, or does she take a step back, letting Bill weave his magic? I guess that it’s a little of both. While this iconic comedic actor may look older, he might have a bit more gravel in that voice, but Murray has never been better. On the Rocks perfectly captures the mischief of a lifelong bachelor who only now is realizing how his decisions have impacted his daughter (played by Rashida Jones).
Murray plays Felix, once a prominent art dealer in New York City but now spends his days hopping from one continent to the next, wooing younger ladies and leading a carefree life. He’s attempting to visit Laura (Jones) and manages to get himself involved in her marital drama. Laura suspects that her husband, Dean, who has been working long hours at the office, is having an affair. She bases this on finding what seems to be a woman’s toiletry bag in his luggage. Rather than confront him about this, she turns to the one man who has experience in these matters, her father.
On the Rocks uses this framework to tell a rather touching story about parental relationships that lose their way and how love helps you reconnect. While Laura may disagree with how her father conducts his life, in the end, she knows that her dad loves her. Felix realizes that it’s never too late to do the right thing and that love often brings perspective.