‘Licorice Pizza:’ Coming of age tale with great deal of heart and style


“Licorice Pizza,” a name for a movie so curious, virtually nothing can be drawn about the film from its title. After watching though, the lighthearted and puzzling name fits perfectly. “Licorice Pizza” is a film that doesn’t stick to one main idea. There is a centrality of its storyline in following the relationship of two young people in California. Alana Kane and Gary Valentine, played respectively by Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, are the centers of the film, but there’s much more depth and feeling in this film than just their relationship. Director Paul Thomas Anderson has encased the incredibly vibrant and immersive time period of the 1970s and, like many of the other great Paul Thomas Anderson films, this one takes place in California, specifically the San Fernando Valley.

Nothing can really sum up what this movie is about. There are simply too many amazing sequences about completely different things. At its core, ” Licorice Pizza” is about the relationship between an overly confident fifteen-year-old child actor and a twenty-five-year-old woman struggling to assimilate to adulthood. Because of the age difference, there are very odd undertones in the beginning, but as the film progresses and their relationship becomes more clear, the film becomes very lighthearted and endearing. The obvious chemistry between the two actors, Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, lights up the screen at every second. The film essentially is a vivid description of growing up and maturing, while trying to maintain an unconventional relationship.

Throughout my watch, I was awestruck at the writing and production of this film. Every twist and turn felt completely unexpected and exhilarating. Paul Thomas Anderson has been in a writing and directing groove ever since his acclaimed 2007 film, ” There Will Be Blood.” This film just continues his streak of fantastic and remarkable films. There is a feeling that underlines this movie, which really brings everything together. Under every dramatic scene, there is always a carefree aspect to this film. This could partially be because of the time period and location it is set in, but it could also be due to the relationship the two main characters have. Not to mention, the soundtrack is sublime. Johnny Greenwood, the composer for ” There Will Be Blood” and 2021’s astounding ” Spencer,” has once again assembled a soundtrack that doesn’t just underscore moments in film, it noticeably enhances the scene in itself.

“Licorice Pizza” is a movie anyone can enjoy. From the second it starts, one can’t help but be overtaken by a feeling of almost relaxation, but still being interested and fascinated by all the anecdotes happening inside one overarching story of two people who need each other. Gary Valentine is an assured teenage child actor who has founded businesses and Alana Kane is an underachieving struggling twenty-five-year-old, so the two perfectly balance each other out and cause the movie to simply flow. Every aspect from this film from the writing to the cinematography to the acting works together and forms what can only be called a masterpiece. Every moment spent with this film is incredibly enjoyable and fun. This is a must-see for anyone wanting to add another film to their greatest films of all-time list.

Grade: A+