Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza ★★★★★

Licorice Pizza is one of the most charming, beautifully shot, and genuinely sincere movies in a decade. It’s PTA’s most intimate movie, the most relaxed he’s ever been behind the camera, and I’m not sure he’s ever been better. 

I totally understand why some people might take issue with the film, but I found it so genuine and innocent that nothing ever made me uncomfortable. 

Every single one of PTA’s films are beautiful, but what’s impressive about the cinematography in Licorice Pizza is how much it does with so little. Encino in the 70’s somehow looks like the most beautiful and fantastic place in the world. 

The cast is one of the highlights of the film. I had never seen Alana Haim or Cooper Hoffman in anything and they’re incredible. There’s a subtlety to their performances that completely sells the whole thing. They’re also really funny. Bradley Cooper has limited screen time, but he’s perfect. His character is the embodiment of no small parts only small actors. 

This is probably my favorite script of the year. It’s not only PTA’s funniest film, but I thought it was one of the funniest movies of the year. Even the most mundane scenes are written in an interesting way. Some of the best moments are the smallest moments, and it’s a testament to the script, the direction, and the performances. 

The only issue I had with the film was a weird subplot in the third act involving a politician. It was the only tangent I felt wasn’t completely justified, but it made for some interesting historical context I suppose. 

“They don’t make movies like this anymore” is a cliche, but it’s completely appropriate for Licorice Pizza. This was my favorite theater experience this year, and I saw Dune in IMAX. It felt like I was watching something intimate and special. It’s one part Almost Famous, one part Ladybird, and 10 parts PTA. It’s a movie that reminds you why you love movies.

Ricardo liked this review