The fact that Paul Thomas Anderson has been nominated eight times for an Oscar always generates certain expectations when he presents a new film Licorice Pizza this has been no exception. The director, screenwriter and producer, born in California in 1970 and active since 1988, has a long and acclaimed career. This is why the American Film Institute considers him to be “one of the modern masters of American cinema”. The filmmaker, responsible for such acclaimed titles as Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), There Will be Blood (2007) and Phantom Thread (2017), is directing Licorice Pizza, a tender ode to first love, in 2021.
Review ‘Licorice Pizza’ (2021)
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the film is that the viewer doesn’t know for sure what he or she is going to find. Yes, we have as a basis the story of two young people and we know that it is set in California in the seventies, specifically in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles). But little else. This is not the first time that the director has tackled the seventies, but this is perhaps the film that most tenderly portrays this decade
The film tells the story of two young people, Alana (Alana Haim) and Gary (Cooper Hoffman), son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman). He is a child actor whose adolescence is already making it difficult for him to participate in the film industry. She is a young woman who is not yet clear about what she wants. As Gary prepares for his high school yearbook photo, he bumps into Alana, with whom he is instantly smitten. Courageous and confident for his age, he decides to ask her out.
However, Licorice Pizza is not just a teenage romantic comedy. Not at all. The film is intimate and compelling, brimming with light and happiness. There is no path, no right decisions, it is simply about life, with its mistakes and its successes, its illusions and its disappointments. And above all it is about friendship, the discovery of love, which so often surprises us, and the abandonment of childhood and the transition to adulthood. That life we may not have dreamed of but which we have to live. The film also places us in an important socio-political moment: the 1973 oil crisis. Licorice Pizza is a film that was born out of the director’s experiences and coincidences with which the viewer can, at some point, identify.
A film that will leave you with a pleasant taste in your mouth
This is perhaps the conclusion that the film leaves you with. The director has chosen the title of the film very wisely. This “licorice pizza”, partly a nickname for vinyl records and also the name of a record shop that once existed in California, leaves a good taste in the mouth. Licorice Pizza is a breath of fresh air on the current scene. The actors have a chemistry that transcends the screen and the film is brimming with freshness and originality. Attention to the magnificent soundtrack and the cameos by Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper. 100% recommended to escape from our problems, at least for a while.
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