Movie Review: The Bling Ring

A Movie Review of The Bling Ring, written and directed by Sofia Coppola (2013)

The Bling Ring Sofia Coppola

by REBECCA, June 26, 2013

By now, everyone knows the story of the Bling Ring—a group of L.A. rich kids who repeatedly broke into celebrities’ homes and stole three million dollars worth of clothing and jewelry from Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Lindsay Lohan before ever being caught. It’s a story as shiny as Paris Hilton’s jewelry and as intoxicating as the loads of coke these teens shove up their noses. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of beautiful story with a rotten underbelly that Sofia Coppola loves to turn into beautiful movies with a little bite.

Indeed, The Bling Ring *is* pretty to look at: its young stars are beautiful, and the clothes and houses pornographies of conspicuous consumption. But the film never quite decides whether it wants to justify the Bling Ring’s behavior, or skewer them, and it suffers for it. Either choice would have made for a more interesting take on the story. If she had decided to delve beneath the surface of these teens’ obsession with the trappings of celebrity culture and show us where it stems from or what it felt like, I would have been interested to see it. If she had fully committed to derogating the teens or to lambasting the culture that produced them, I would have been interested in seeing that, too. As it stands, though, the film never fully commits to anything except an aesthetic and, while it’s a nice one, it’s not quite enough to carry a whole film.

The Bling RingThere’s definitely an appeal, though. Emma Watson is charming, Katie Chang charismatic, and Israel Broussard compelling. There are clothes galore, some lovely and familiarly Sofia Coppola-esque montages, a Gavin Rossdale cameo, and a lot of white girls trying to act like they’re in a rap video. It’s fun and fluffy, but left me wishing it had more of an angle and more of an ending. In any case, if you’re looking for a light and pretty matinee pick, The Bling Ring is definitely bling-y.

The Bling Ring is based on the Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins,” by Nancy Jo Sales, which she later turned into a full-length book, The Bling Ring: How A Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World.

Have you seen The Bling Ring? What did you think?

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4 Comments

  1. I totally agree with you that I’m fine with Coppola not judging the kids themselves; I just wanted her to make bolder choices, and I kind of didn’t care which choices they were. It felt kind of like she knew all the things you reference and just decided to toss a teeny bit of all of it into the pot. And I liked that, too, but I wanted a more boldly flavored stew, ya know? FOOD METAPHORS. I did amuse myself during the movie by trying to decide if Emma Watson’s American accent was worse than it was in Perks of Being a Wallflower because she didn’t care or because she was trying to amp her Britglish into the flatness of a California accent. Either way, she is darling.

  2. Porkchop

     /  June 26, 2013

    I appreciated Sofia Coppola’s lack of judgment. It felt more real to me because I know that the kids were not evaluating their behavior in terms of right and wrong, they were in it for the thrill and the celebrity obsession. When Lindsey Lohan and Emma Watson’s character are both in jail, you’re free to mull it over: it’s wrong to steal, but they’re both thieves; obsessing over celebrities is contemptible, but Lindsay Lohan wouldn’t exist without it. The two of them are in a relationship while being unable to relate to each other. Louboutin gave Lindsay those shoes because of those kids. The whole thing really reminded me of the way Scorsese shows you gangsters. You can see that they’ve committed their lives to something awful, but to them it’s the greatest thing in the world. I honestly think that a moral viewpoint is a hindrance to a story like this. But I know I’m going against the tide on this movie. I loved it!

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