Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza ★★★★

“That recurring use of hucksters ascends to the level of text with Licorice Pizza, which returns to the sunny San Fernando Valley setting from the first half of his career. Set in 1973, the story follows Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, the son of Anderson’s deceased muse), a 15-year-old child actor and voracious entrepreneur, and Alana Kane (Alana Haim), a prospectless 25-year-old who transfixes Gary when he first sees her in line for high school photos. After immediately proclaiming his affection for her—which she quickly turns down for obvious reasons—Gary nevertheless forges a friendship with Alana, and together they embark on a series of highs and lows in both their personal and professional interactions. Gary, whose acting prospects are drying up, begins selling waterbeds, then opens a pinball palace, ventures both based on fads and rumors; Alana first pursues acting, then politics, actions undertaken based on a broader sense of dissatisfaction with the course of her life.”

Reviewed for The Film Stage.

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