Review | On the Rocks Aged Boldly, Went Down Smooth Like Whiskey

Review | On the Rocks Aged Boldly, Went Down Smooth Like Whiskey

Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks is the most personal piece in her filmography, which is why you will notice it feels different than all her other films. Coppola focused the story of On the Rocks on a young mother reconnecting with her playboy father. That is, after assuming, her own husband is going down the same path.

This is a heartwarming, funny film that explores the entire institution of marriage. It can currently be streamed on Apple TV.

If we look at this film as a standalone piece, and not a part of Coppola’s filmography, we notice some similarities to other New York-based romantic dramas. Her writing and direction felt more grounded and realistic, which created a solid connection to these characters. She poses plenty of questions about marriage and how in some instances, we never fully know the person with whom we have chosen to spend our entire lives.

On the Rocks: Describing Relationships

Sofia Coppola brings us a heartwarming tale about relationships -- parental and marital -- in On the Rocks.

In On the Rocks, Coppola creates a unique theme: Love is not about who we fall in love with, but rather, what we fall in love with. When people ask, “Why do you love them,” you’re explaining their attributes, personality, and what attracts you to that person. It has never been who but how the person makes you feel.

On the Rocks emphasizes that it doesn’t matter who the person is, but what their love does for you and what their affection means to you.


Coppola explores the hardships of marriage and relationships in general, from two quite different perspectives. One from Laura (Rashida Jones), who is married with two kids and the other, her father Felix (Bill Murray), who is a single man traveling the world.

Laura blames herself for her relationship being on the rocks, while Felix blamed his ex-wife for changing how his daughter loved him. To be with someone for decades is something that people don’t fully understand how to comprehend when they get married. People change within a year, so why is it upsetting when people continue to change? Even then, some can’t adapt.

Father/Daughter Relationships

It was an interesting dynamic in choosing a father and daughter to have these open conversations. Especially considering that Felix had left Laura’s mother; yet, they still had such a strong relationship. It is always great to see a father/daughter dynamic on screen. And the chemistry between Murray and Jones in On the Rocks was just so easy to watch.

In case you’re wondering, Bill Murray was an absolute delight and, in all honesty, what he did in On the Rocks is his best performance to date. He was so suave, fun, and wise. Coppola ensured she had perfect casting.

It is rare to see such a strong relationship like Felix and Laura on screen because they can tell each other anything. Felix sees his daughter as her own person, as an adult. That’s why he is committed to helping her through anything. It’s understandable that fathers will always look at their daughters as little girls and coddle them, even when they’re 25 years old. Nevertheless, the evolution between them and this stark honest dialogue was truly something special to experience.

On the Rocks is the lighthearted film that was needed during this season. It was charming and sweet, with a fantastic jazz score to accompany it. This is a unique journey through New York City. We are treated with a vantage point of the city in a whole new light, and it is wonderful. The film will grow on you as you watch it, and you will learn what Coppola is trying to tell her audience about relationships.

As Felix says simply, “We all just want to be loved.”

All Images Courtesy: A24/American Zoetrope

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