The premiere of a new movie Paul Thomas Anderson It’s quite an event for any lover of the seventh art. To his credit there are authentic gems such as ‘Magnolia’, ‘Pozos de ambición’ or ‘El invisible thread’, so it is logical to expect a lot from anything that bears his signature.
With ‘Licorice Pizza’ he got some of the best reviews in his filmography and three Oscar nominations as important as Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Original Screenplay, but the most curious thing is that later maybe What shines most in the series is the outstanding work of newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.
Trip to the 70s
This is not the first time that Anderson has placed one of his films during the 70s, a time when he himself was a child, often with a hint of nostalgia but without letting that cannibalize the proposition. Everything happens as if he weren’t so much interested in disconnecting from reality as in playing with it, shaping it to extract what he demands and to propose an idealized vision of it in some way.
This is something that has two faces. On the one hand, the first hour of ‘Licorice Pizza’ is a delightin which everything revolves around the fascination that Alana arouses in Gary, the first going through a moment in her life where she must take the bull by the horns and see how far she can go, while the second is still a teenager who is lets himself be carried away by his dreams, regardless of the pitfalls he may encounter along the way.
Anderson embroiders the dynamic that arises between the two, relying for this on the freshness that Haim and Hoffman transmit to their respective characters, but also on the chemistry they share, which suggests that they end up being a couple, great friends. or both. The chemistry between Haim and Hoffman is something almost supernatural.
This first hour focuses almost exclusively on her, bringing them dangerously close so that they end up trying to fly (up to a point) on their own. Gary’s motivation seems to have a clear ceiling, as evidenced by his television experience, while Alana eventually awakens the more practical side of her to go in the direction you think you should and deserve.
The ballast of the anecdotal
Then a fork appears which doesn’t go very well with ‘Licorice Pizza’, a film in which until then the moments had been more important than the whole, but it is as if Anderson let himself be seduced by certain true anecdotes to give the film an episodic component much less stimulating than what we had seen until now. then. Before, there was a certain tendency for this, but integrating it with much more luck in the story.
It’s also in this phase of the movie where he gives the film a more cinephile touch and there might not be much to fault him purely technically, but emotionally that’s another matter. I think especially in the segment in which they appear Sean Penn and Tom Waitsthe weakest link in the whole function.
“Licorice Pizza” manages to return after that, but maintains that same tendency for isolated experiences to focus narrative attention for the next few minutes. In this way, the truth conveyed by the relationship between its two protagonists is diluted in part for the benefit of the eccentric with this excess bradley cooper or in the only part of the entire performance in which Anderson puts his feet on the ground with the politician played by benny safdi.
They continue to be vital experiences for the two to finish clarifying their path, always being careful that they do not turn out to be heavy, being essential for this the work of assembling Andy Jurgensenand with a sensational technical finish so that you feel transported to another era at all times.
The ballast is that until then we were enchanted by a unique and special love story in which everything seduced you to the point of never wanting to separate you from its two protagonists, but there this effect is lost. ‘Licorice Pizza’ is a film in which there is a lot of racing, but halfway through the film it is as if you were taking a break to do something else. And less interesting.
‘Licorice Pizza’ remains below the best films of its director. Too bad because initially it was intended to be one of his major works, but then he bets on going in another direction and loses what made him really special. It’s not that it sinks -even the part with Penn and Wait, the worst in the series, has its little things- but it gets a bit lost along the way despite the fact that Anderson seems to be in control of the situation. in detail from the beginning. scene at any time.