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Licorice Pizza (2021)

Paul Thomas Anderson



Licorice Pizza

133 minutes

Sara Murphy
Adam Somner
Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast includes:

Alana Kane Alana Haim
Gary Valentine Cooper Hoffman
Jack Holden Sean Penn
Rex Blau Tom Waits
Jon Peters Bradley Cooper
Joel Wachs Benny Safdie
Lance Brannigan Skyler Gisondo -

Momma Anita

Mary Elizabeth Ellis -
Jerry Frick John Michael Higgins -
Lucy Doolittle Christine Ebersole -
Mary Grady Harriet Sansom Harris -
Steve Ryan Heffington -
Brian Nate Mann -
Matthew Joseph Cross -



In Paul Thomas Anderson's homage to the 1970s, unlike in some other recent time warps, the decade doesn't feel like a glossed, stylistically immaculate dream version of itself. Instead, we're transported back to a time when teenagers and youngsters weren't hyperaware of their own appearance and as trained in expressing their feelings and emotions. In Anderson's view, 1973 was a time of oily hair, pimply skin, and insecure fumbling around with people of the opposite sex. But it was also a time of breathing into telephones, and of ageing lotharios hitting openly on young girls the effects of the sexual revolution had not yet been reeled in.

And, of course, Licorice Pizza is set in the San Fernando Valley, with its proximity to Hollywood and the movie business. Like Tarantino did with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Anderson weaves in abundances of more or less real-life characters and anecdotes. They don't constitute the basis for the story, but they're what gives the movie its fun, free-flowing quality. Licorice Pizza is a meandering film of unremarkable characters in remarkable situations. The latter is what is supposed to make it grounded and authentic, which is a clever enough idea, except that Alana and Gary inevitably end up as that unlikely movie couple after all.

Licorice Pizza is arguably PTA's most upbeat and optimistic film. It's also one of the more accessible, because the protagonists here aren't the abrasive, outcast types Anderson often portrays. Still, it's also somewhat inaccessible, since we're given peaks into a sometimes mythical milieu from Anderson's youth which is recreated with what feels like a personal reverence, but not always apropos anything else. To say the movie completely works would be to be too indulgent which people often are when watching the work of a great filmmaker. But if nothing else, Licorice Pizza is a fairly enjoyable and almost immersive movie experience. It's an attempt to create a big screen classic, and for that I applaud it.

Copyright 08.09.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang