Review: Enjoy A Slice of Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza leaves a sweet taste in viewers’ mouths.


Photo Republic Records

The cover of the newly released “Licorice Pizza” soundtrack.

Charlotte Stone, Features Editor

2021’s new, big coming-of-age hit is “Licorice Pizza.” Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this soon-to-be success depicts Anderson’s image of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles during the 70s. It captures the story of Alana Kane, played by Alana Haim and Gary Valentine, played by Cooper Hoffman, as they grow up and find love.

Although this is Haim’s first movie, you may recognize her from her band, Haim. This pop-rock trio is made up of Alana and her two older sisters, Este and Danielle. As a result, even though it was her first movie, Haim has a ton of on-stage experience, which prepared her to appear on the big screen.

However, Haim wasn’t the only one new to acting, her co-star Cooper Hoffman was as-well, but you would never guess it. The two new stars did an amazing job in their first acting roles and were able to blow audiences away. As a result, the rawness of their acting really helped to enhance the movie and give it the very natural and authentic feel that makes it so appealing.

You may also recognize Hoffman’s name. Even though he has not gained any direct fame himself, his father was the famous actor, director and producer, Philip Seymore Hoffman. One may think that having an actor for a father may have led Hoffman to his newfound acting career, but it was actually all thanks to Anderson.

Anderson literally wrote the script around Haim and Hoffman. He had been long-time family friends of Hoffman and his family and had previously directed a few of Haim’s music videos. So, even though neither had been planning on going into the film, when a distinguished director writes a script specifically for you, you just say yes.

This endearing movie is the perfect quirky love story. It encapsulates the rebellious teenage spirit perfectly and is all in all an amazing depiction of growing up in the 70s.

Between the set, costume design and soundtrack, you feel like you are really back in 1970s Los Angeles. From Alana’s outfits to the little decorations in her family home, every detail is executed remarkably well. Plus, every song was picked flawlessly to transport you back in time.

However, there are a few risqué scenes since after all, it was set in the 70s. Anderson responded to these concerns by stating that he felt it was unfair to depict the 70s without including the ugly parts. He has witnessed much racism, especially in the 1970s, and felt an obligation to contain it in the movie.

“I think it would be a mistake to tell a period film through the eyes of 2021,” said Anderson during an interview with The New York Times. 

Whether you agree with his choice or not, overall the movie has had very positive reviews. Both Haim and Hoffman have received praise for their alluring performances. The movie’s nostalgic feel has not gone unnoticed, it has been appreciated by many fans.