This must be the place (2011)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Harry Dean Stanton, David Byrne, Eve Hewson, Judd Hirsch


How to go about this? It helps to be a child of the 80’s.

Cause if you’ve never heard of The Cure (band), then you’d miss out on the striking resemblance of Sean Penn to Robert Smith.

If you’ve never heard of Siouxie and the Banshees (band), you’d miss out on the *wink* with Cheyenne and the Fellows.

And it helps also to know who David Byrne is, Talking Heads, and that “This must be the place” is a song by Taking Heads, sung by David Byrne and is mostly known under the title “Naive melody“.

But all that aside, this mustn’t stop you from going to see this movie… or at least stick trough it.


Cheyenne is a retired pop star, in his fifties, living in Ireland and still looking like in his pop star youthful days, with nothing much to do than try to keep himself busy with ordinary things like going grocery shopping. You can say he’s pretty bored with himself. His beautiful house is clean and modern, and taken care of by his (professional fire-fighting) wife, who even takes care of the dog for him. A game of pelota in the empty swimming pool could be considered a highlight of an otherwise mundane day.

News of his father’s death has him going back to New York for the funeral. A father he hadn’t seen in over 30 years, and of which he now has the diaries filled with notes and sketches of. Cheyenne cannot make heads or tails of the writings, but soon finds out that his father had been on a quest for most of his life. And Cheyenne wants to honour that quest, now his father has died.


I liked it. I didn’t know what to expect of it, especially because of the trailers. Maybe some people might get bored by the tone of speech used by Penn, but it fits with the character. A naive character, childlike, bored with how things are going… it fits.

There are some scenes that somehow feel like inconsistent, but it’s not that troublesome. McDormand and Penn work well as a couple: she’s in control and stable, he’s a bit subdued and needs a strong person in his everyday life.

The side stories are sweet and may not seem important (well, yeah, side stories), but they do add to how we should look at Cheyenne, as a troubled and sensitive person. He feels responsible for having contributed (though indirectly, and even that is debatable) to a most unfortunate event because of his gloomy songs, his influence. He doesn’t feel like an artist, not like he has done anything of importance. And what he can do for his father, even though maybe too late, is important. It validates him and sets things right.

I let each decide for themselves, but I enjoyed how the movie visually was presented (the style) and the actors that performed true to their character.

I leave you with a trailer:


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