“The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.” -IMDB
As with The Tragedy of Macbeth, I was hesitant going into this movie given who the director was. Paul Thomas Anderson movies can be incredibly dark, depressing, and pretentious. And given this film’s setting in Hollywood, I thought the condescension would be cranked up to an eleven. I went in for a hate watch, but found a sweet and nostalgic movie that I would definitely revisit. Let me clarify…
Licorice Pizza follows Alana Kane (played by Alana Haim with plenty of cameos by not only her famous sisters, but her parents as well) and Gary Valentine played by Cooper Hoffman (son of the legendary Phillip Seymour Hoffman). The chemistry between these two was incredible. Alana was hilarious, biting, and realistic, while Cooper was charming and intriguing to watch. The two relative newcomers definitely left their mark with this film and portrayed the myriad of coming-of-age emotions brilliantly.
I will say this film felt very long, longer than its two hour and fifteen minute run time. But it felt like that decision was made deliberately in order to disorient the audience, as the two main characters are often disoriented in their interactions with one another and with the world around them.
Other highlights include the authenticity of the 70s setting, including a wonderfully curated soundtrack, some hilarious cameos, and the Hollywood setting (who can resist it, really?). Overall, I left this movie not necessarily understanding what I had watched, but knowing that I enjoyed the journey. And isn’t that what life is all about? (AHA! SO THAT WAS WHAT THE MOVIE WAS ABOUT!)
Rating: 7 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Harold and Maude, The Graduate
Streaming: In Theaters
With: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson