Film Review: Sofia Coppola Captures Cult of Celebrity in ‘The Bling Ring’

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CHICAGO – We live a celebrity-driven culture that not only easily dismisses when its celebutantes get DUIs but practically sees the occasion as a rite of passage. We follow gossip websites to the degree that we know the schedules of people who are famous just for being famous better than we know our family’s. And these celebrities are feted with gifts to the degree that they wouldn’t notice if most of their possessions went missing. Sofia Coppola’s incredibly entertaining “The Bling Ring” dares to subtly make the case that the kids who very casually decided to begin robbing TMZ’s most-beloved in the Hollywood Hills grew from this modern world of misplaced priorities. Her film walks that fine line where some will criticize it for excusing their behavior while others will think it mocks them too openly. Both miss the point. The brilliance of “The Bling Ring” is in the question it presents as its thesis – “Can you really blame them?” Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Marc (Israel Broussard), the only character for whom it could be argued Coppola presents true sympathy, is the new kid at school. He’s drawn to Rebecca (Katie Chang), a beautiful girl who has a similar interest in fashion and celebrity culture. She seems to even be slowly becoming like the red-carpet dwellers she admires in fashion magazines, vapid stare and all. Marc mistakes Rebecca’s egotism as depth and essentially becomes her unwilling partner in crime.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Bling Ring” in our reviews section.

Rebecca sees a news item on TMZ or one of its wannabes about a celebrity being out of town and asks Marc to Google the address. Then, with surprising ease, Rebecca & Marc go “shopping.” It starts off relatively benign – going through Paris Hilton’s closet, checking out her shoes, playing in her nightclub room, etc. Before you know it, Rebecca is trying to steal her dog and taking art off Miranda Kerr’s wall. The recklessness of their crimes makes their capture for them inevitable, although it takes a stunningly long time. They brag to friends, sell stolen goods, post pictures on Facebook, and are caught on security cameras long before any of them garner police interest.

Marc & Rebecca are not alone. They’re joined by the remarkably vapid Nicki (Emma Watson) & Sam (Taissa Farmiga). Nicki’s mother Laurie (Leslie Mann) agreed to take in Sam as her own daughter after some vague controversy with her mother and counsels the girls in the way of “The Secret” every morning while ignoring the true problems they are clearly having. The supposition that a bit of mindless inspirational speaking over breakfast can serve as true parenting is tragically hysterical. Chloe (Clarie Julien), Nicki’s sister Emily (Georgia Rock), Rob (Carlos Miranda), and a stolen goods dealer named Ricky (Gavin Rossdale) get caught up in the “Ring.”

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Bling Ring” review.

“The Bling Ring” stars Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Carlos Miranda, Leslie Mann, and Gavin Rossdale. It was written & directed by Sofia Coppola. It is now playing in some markets and opens tomorrow, June 21, 2013 in Chicago.

The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring
Photo credit: A24

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