Gary Valentine is 15 going on 30, Alana Kane is “25” but in air quotes that basically allow her to be whatever it might say on her eventual dream ticket out of Encino, and they first cross paths on a pale 1973 morning in the San Fernando Valley at a strange moment in history when Old Hollywood and New Hollywood have started to overlap. Bing Crosby is still alive even though Jim Morrison is already dead, and it feels like everyone is more or less the same age because no one really knows what time actually means anymore.
‘Licorice Pizza’ Is Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1970s Power Ballad — and the Funkiest Love Story of the Year
A spiritual prequel to ‘Punch Drunk Love,’ the filmmaker’s look back at a bygone era couldn’t be more personal — or have better performers at its centre... Rolling Stone.
" As a title for this California pastoral from the sunlit west coast 1970s, Licorice Pizza is whimsically inspired. According to writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s actually the name of a now-defunct SoCal record store chain. I was hoping he was making that up, like Anthony Burgess’s supposed cockney phrase “Queer as a clockwork orange”. But no. It really did exist, though the movie itself teeters between reality and nostalgist-hallucination.
This is a love story set in 1973 (Erich Segal’s novel is in fact slyly positioned in one shot), and far too interesting and complicated to be called “coming-of-age”. A grinningly fast-talking 15-year-old boy meets a bored 25-year-old woman 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...." The Guardian (Five Stars)
"A big cartwheel of a movie, Paul Thomas Anderson’s sweet coming-of-age yarn is free-spirited and fun as hell.... his sunniest movie yet (admittedly, not an especially high bar to clear) this San Fernando Valley palimpsest is so buoyant and bubbly, it practically floats off the screen. It’s the giddiness that grabs you in the Californian’s latest gem, and the dizzying sense of possibility and innocence. It left me with a contact high...." Time Out (5 Stars)