27 September 2023

Licorice Pizza

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Reviewed by Hannah Spencer.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Universal, 133 mins, M.

THIS is hot girl summer. There are waterbeds, pinball machines, high-speed truck action sequences, a stint in politics and an aggressive Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley) just for the hell of it.

In other words, there’s everything you could ask for and more.

For what it lacks in narrative continuity, it makes up for in innocence and charm, earning it a slew of Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Despite it mostly being a love letter to a forgotten and simpler time, the movie also nods to the gig economy and hustling: the life blood of aspirational millennials.

At fifteen years old, Gary Valentine may already be over the hill in his acting career, but he utilises his confidence and precociousness to make the big bucks.

It’s a film about not really knowing what you’re doing but having too much fun to really care.

Reminiscent of Almost Famous and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood in aesthetic, this is a movie you’ll see again (and again and again).

The film’s stars Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are charming and undeniably talented in their debut roles.

Alana Haim, normally a musician in the family trio band Haim, shines in her character as a young Jewish woman with hopes of greatness and a desire to be seen.

You’d never guess that this is her first acting role, nor her family’s (who play her onscreen family).

Cooper Hoffman, the son of acclaimed actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman (forever in our hearts), is as talented as you would hope him to be.

His character Gary Valentine, is sweet and industrious, but his loneliness is palpable.

This is a tribute to the type of relationship that can never truly be defined in words but is defined more by its feeling.

It’s not a romantic relationship and it’s not a friendship, rather a bond between souls.

If all that doesn’t work for you, at the very least, you’ll enjoy the soundtrack.

4 out of 5 stars

Screening nationally

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