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Parents' Guide to

Licorice Pizza

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Some iffy behavior in sunny, lovable 1970s-set L.A. story.

Movie R 2021 133 minutes
Licorice Pizza Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 18+

Ridiculous excuse for a movie

The fact that people do not see a huge problem with this movie astonish me. The girl is 25 yo and the boy is 15 yo. I can not picture how some people can be alright with watching that love story unfold. There is no message to the movie, the 15 yo boy never goes to school and don't seem to have parents, he smokes all the time and hangs out with a child molestor. Because yes, this is child molesting. And for those who say "it's sweet and innocent", heavy flirting, kissing and flashing is not innocent. (spoiler warning) They get together at the end so try to tell me there's no sex coming right after that. This movie normalizes child molesting and believe me, if the roles were reverse and an older guy would flirt and date a 15 yo, it would be treated as a scandal. As an adult you might enjoy the movie's aesthetic and "vintage" feel but the story stays ridiculous and pretty boring. If you decide to watch this movie with your kid even after all of this, than make sure they're aware that such an age gap like that is not fun, sweet and "not a big deal". I do not recommend. I wasted 2 hours.
age 16+

Southern California 1973

If you are anywhere near my age this movie was seriously a blast. Sure the girl was way too old, and the boy too young. But it was mostly innocent and sweet. The two kids were portrayed by brand new actors and they both had flare and likeability. Seeing Phillip Seymour Hoffman's son in this was so good. He definitely inherited his father's acting chops. I loved the girl's whole family in this film. Some parts were unrealistic and a little too violent but otherwise a great film.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Relaxed and rambling, this lovable, hazy, sunny dramedy is likely Paul Thomas Anderson's funniest movie, and its seeming lack of ambition elevates it above some of his more challenging efforts. The title Licorice Pizza comes from a beloved record store of that time and place, and although the store itself never appears in the movie, it features plenty of pop and rock tunes that might have been purchased there. The movie feels expansive and slightly off-kilter, with a parade of character actors drifting in and out of the background, sometimes for almost no reason, as when a film director (Tom Waits) challenges a drunken actor (Sean Penn) to jump his motorcycle over a bonfire. And Bradley Cooper has a very funny sequence as a pompous Hollywood power player.

As in Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love and Phantom Thread, the world of Licorice Pizza revolves around its two central characters and their shifting relationship dynamics (even if the mood is closer to Boogie Nights or Inherent Vice). Gary actually recalls Max Fischer in Wes Anderson's Rushmore: a suave, smooth-talking adult trapped in an inelegant child's body, able to talk anyone into anything. Alana (who's a real-life member of the pop group HAIM) is plucky and stubborn, as evidenced in the exhilarating sequence in which she coolly pilots a gasless delivery truck downhill through the city. The movie's wandering, barely connected events can't really be called a "story," but the end result still feels meaningful. Perhaps a clue to its central theme lies in its title. Why call the movie Licorice Pizza? Why not?

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