Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza ★★★★★

Paul Thomas Anderson's coming of age comedy drama set in LA's San Fernando Valley during the fuel crisis of 1973, is a romantic tour de force of a movie that paints a portrait of early 70's LA, the hustle, the sexism, the casual racism, and ego crazed stardom, that is both sentimental and ever so slightly askew. Unconventional, occasionally hilarious and soundtracked to near perfection, the film acts as a window into the soul of its director, whose stylistic fingerprints appear in every down-tempo frame.

Alana Haim is excellent as the slighter older Alana Kane who takes a shine to opportunistic teen entrepreneur Gary (Cooper Hoffman). Haim and Hoffman, whose uncertain relationship anchors the film throughout, prove themselves equal to potentially scene stealing cameos from the likes of Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn, in a film composed of a series of incidents and period vignettes, loosely organised into a memorable, emotionally rewarding and distinctive narrative whole.

Licorice Pizza, then, is a big hearted, and wonderfully realised, hang out and have fun movie in the style of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused that proves nostalgia need not be rose tinted and saccharine to have an impact. Highly recommended.

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