Licorice Pizza

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s funniest and most relaxed film yet is a romance about Alana and Gary whose relationship, if at first awkward, morphs into a thrilling experience of first love, starring two extraordinary newcomers and stuffed with fabulous A-list cameos.

A grinningly fast-talking 15-year-old boy (played by Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) meets a bored 25-year-old woman (Alana Haim, of the pop band Haim) who works as assistant to a photographer taking pictures for the high-school yearbook. She is in equal parts amused, intrigued and depressed when this kid starts hitting on her, and she realizes that she is somehow interested in him as well.

This is a love story set in 1973, and far too interesting and complicated to be called “coming-of-age”. This hypnotically gorgeous, funny, romantic movie freewheels its way around from scene to scene, from character to character, from setpiece to setpiece, with absolute mastery. You float and ripple around it as if on a waterbed. But every casual line, kiss, automobile-ride, set-up and joke is a joy. It’s such a delectable film: cut yourself a slice.

This film was chosen by British film critic Peter Bradshaw.


Paul Thomas Anderson (b. 1970) is one of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers of our time, having directed and written films such as Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. He has been nominated for an Academy Award eight times.


2017 Phantom Thread
2014 Inherent Vice
2012 The Master
2007 There Will Be Blood
2002 Punch Drunk Love
1999 Magnolia
1997 Boogie Nights

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