Licorice Pizza movie review - Aussieboyreviews


The best thing about the film is the 70s vibe it provides, otherwise it’s pretty meaningless and uninteresting. But that isn’t to say it isn’t well done and the performances aren’t sufficient or enjoyable.


The story of young Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around, and falling in love in 1970s San Fernando Valley.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Skyler Gisondo, Tom Waits
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Release Date (Australia): 26 December 2021
Runtime: 133 minutes/2h 13m
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Country: USA, Canada
Language: English, Japanese, Spanish

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (PG)

The film contains themes of crude humour, as well as scenes of vandalism and a teenage boy being arrested under false charges.

Violence (PG)

The film contains depictions of women slapping a teenage boy and a man slapping a woman’s buttock.

Coarse Language (M)

The film contains use of the word “f**k” throughout, as well as use of the words “s**t”, “prick”, “bitch”, “d**khead” and “ass”.

Drug Use (PG)

The film contains scenes of marijuana smoking, in addition to verbal references to LSD and a woman “being high”.

Sex (M)

The film features crude sexual humour, including crude sexual gestures and multiple verbal references to sex, genitalia and masturbation.

mpaa rating

R (for language, sexual material and some drug use)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Licorice Pizza is somewhat enjoyable, but it’s a film that spoils its talent on setting the audience in the 1970s, because all you can really say is that the title basically describes the film perfectly; random, silly and lacking of meaning. The central characters in this film are 25-year-old Alana Kane and 15-year-old Gary Valentine, played by Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, and this movie is just them running around, growing up and falling in love in the 1970s.

The sunniness, classic 70s music and the beautiful colours are the first thing that completely stand out in this movie, even just from the few opening minutes. If there’s one thing writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson absolutely nails in his work, it’s how Licorice Pizza immediately takes you back to the 1970s, focusing on an unusual but sweet love story. It’s not your typical romance film either, as the two leads aren’t constantly in each other’s arms, and a lot of the film spends time with them on their own without each other’s company.

The film features the kind of performances where it’s almost like the actors can talk through their faces and facial expressions, making these two worth sticking around for. There’s also an abundance of cameos, with appearances of Sean Penn as a motorcycle-riding Jack Holden and Bradley Cooper in the absurd roll of Jon Peters. With these cameo appearances, there’s really big and really fun sequences delivered in seperate segments of the film that often rely on situational humour, and it works perfectly.

Licorice Pizza is a pleasure to watch at times, however, the flaw that comes crashing down on it is nastily large. It’s a film with no meaning, no purpose, no message or a point. It’s good to occasionally have films without a direct sense or explanation, but it doesn’t work very well in Licorice Pizza due to the fact that everything happening can also be very uninteresting and even boring. This movie is beautifully-made and excellently-acted, but the pacing and screenwriting for this film isn’t as enjoyable as the bright colours, performances, cameos and music.

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