“Licorice Pizza” debuted in theaters in Nov. 2021. It has quickly gained a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%, so it may be a surprise to many people that this was both Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim’s first movie, the lead actors. 

Gary Valentine (Hoffman) and Alana Kane (Haim) seem to have a charming romance, meeting on school picture day and becoming quickly attached to one another. They go on lots of adventures together, particularly related to Gary’s business endeavors like a waterbed business and a pinball arcade. 

There were definitely unnecessary points in the movie due to the fact that you could easily forget they happened as soon as they were over. These scenes didn’t add to or advance the plot at all. 

The soundtrack is quite good; all songs in the movie are from around or in the 70s, paying tribute to the time period the movie is set in. The costumes were also very well put together, really showing the personality of the characters through bright colors and loud patterns. 

Overall the plot was great; however, there’s one big detail that, arguably, soured the movie. Gary Valentine is 15 years old, a sophomore in high school; Alana Kane works for the school picture company as a 25-year-old adult woman. 

She is portrayed as a drifter in life with no clue how to be an adult, but why does that justify her latching onto a child in a romantic way who is 10 years younger than her? This is never addressed as a problem in the movie. In fact, Gary is repeatedly hit on by adult women even though it is clear that he is a young high schooler. 

There was also racism shown against two Japanese women that was completely unnecessary because there were no other points in the movie where this subject was addressed and it did nothing for the plot or cinematography. 

Overall, it was a fun story to watch unfold and the acting was quite good, but there were problematic elements dealing with race and age that I would change.

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