Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza was regarded as one of the best movies of 2021. The immense critical acclaim the movie got actually put me off watching it for a while, but I finally checked it out over the weekend and can see why so many people loved this movie. It is a coming-of-age drama that grips you right from the very start.
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The Movie Review
The two leads in the movie, Cooper Hoffman who plays Gary, and Alana Haim who plays Alana are featured in their first two lead roles in this movie, which I thought was pretty interesting. I would later find out that Cooper Hoffman is actually the son of the late and very great Phillip Seymore Hoffman which I thought was really cool.
The two leads here are just incredible and you would think that the pair of them were seasoned actors who had appeared in a ton of stuff before, that is how good they are. There is also a great supporting cast here with the likes of Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn to name the two most notable actors.
So, what is Licorice Pizza about? It is very hard to describe what this movie is without just giving a rundown of the plot. It is a movie about growing up, following your dreams, falling in love, unrequited love, realizing that life is cruel and unfair, and everything in between. It truly is a character-driven movie that gets you invested in the lives of Gary and Alana.
I want to give you a bit more info on the plot, but I will not spoil anything that the trailers do not give away. Gary is a 15-year-old who has dreams of becoming a big-time actor and Alana is a 25-year-old photography assistant kind of lost at the moment they meet. Their initial meeting is pretty fun and awkward, but the spark and chemistry is there right from the start and that is where the movie hooks you.
With such a big age gap between the two, you never really know what this relationship actually is. Seeing the two characters grow and become more confident in who they are, make mistakes, and realize that life is not what they thought it would be is great stuff. The harsh reality of dreams not always coming true, but things still being ok is something this movie deals with very well.
You do want these two to end up together, but the way the movie unfolds makes you question if it will happen. Not just because of the big age gap, but they both are two very different people, and while you want them together, would it be the right thing for either of them? It truly is great stuff and keeps you interested all the way to the end.
I have to say that some movies the critics and academy rave about are often overrated, pretentious, and just not for me. Licorice Pizza is not like that! This is an excellent coming-of-age story about two interesting people and the journey that life takes them on. This is a movie you have to watch and a movie I do not think I have heard anyone say they did not like!