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Is On the Rocks a True Story?

October 22, 2020
3 min read

Directed by Sofia Coppola, ‘On the Rocks’ is an airy comedy-drama about love, heartbreaks, and silly suspicions that make us do all kinds of stupid things. The film tells the story of Laura (Rashida Jones), a mother of two in her late 30s. To an outsider, her life might seem perfect. She is a writer living in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. Laura is married to Dean (Marlon Wayans), a successful entrepreneur. Their two daughters are adorable and well-adjusted. But the reality is quite different.

She is suffering from writer’s block and has a long way to go before she finishes her book. Due to her husband’s busy schedule, he is rarely at home, and Laura is forced to perform the day-to-day activities of parenthood on her own. Insecure about her professional and personal circumstances, Laura starts to believe that Dean is having an affair with one of his employees, the beautiful and young Fiona (Jessica Henwick). She speaks about her fears to her father, the roguishly charismatic former art dealer Felix (Bill Murray).

Felix immediately accepts the plausibility of his daughter’s conjectures and embarks on a mission to prove them right. Laura reluctantly goes along with her father’s plan, as he convinces her to check the messages on her husband’s phone and hires an investigator to gather information on him. They even follow him to Mexico, where they think that Dean has gone to spend some quality time with his mistress. If the film’s realistic setting and complex characters have got you wondering whether it is based on a true story, you’re at the right place!

Is On the Rocks Based on a True Story?

No, ‘On the Rocks’ is not based on a true story. Sofia Coppola herself wrote the screenplay and produced it with Youree Henley. Following its release, the movie received a considerable amount of positive reviews, with critics heaping praise on Coppola’s direction, Murray and Jones’ performances, and the film’s general aesthetic.

Although the film is not inspired by any particular real-life incident, Coppola likely drew from her relationship with her own father, legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, while writing this script and creating a character like Felix. She wrote him as the type of person who can easily command everyone’s attention in the room. Coppola probably has been in quite a few rooms like that and witnessed the effect her father has on people.

Mr. Coppola is a titanic figure in the industry and has introduced a new definition of cinema with projects like ‘The Godfather’ trilogy, ‘Apocalypse Now,’ and ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula.’ And yet, empowered by her own brilliance, Sofia has managed to carve out her own space in the industry. In films as memorable as ‘Lost in Translation,’ ‘Somewhere,’ and The Beguiled,’ she has explored the human condition through an undeniably feminine perspective. The father-daughter relationship has been a prevalent theme in her films since the beginning.

In the dark and disturbing ‘The Virgin Suicides,’ she delves deep into the concept of how children’s lives are destroyed because of the puritanical views of their parents on sex and lifestyle. In ‘Somewhere,’ actor Johnny Marco’s (Stephen Dorff) life undergoes drastic changes following the arrival of his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning). In ‘On the Rocks,’ Coppola becomes even more direct and personal in her approach. The decision to put her own life under the scanner is quite remarkable for a seasoned filmmaker such as her.

Read More: On the Rocks, Ending Explained

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