Licorice Pizza


D: Paul Thomas Anderson

MGM / Focus Features / BRON Creative / Ghoulardi (Sara Murphy, Adam Somner & Paul Thomas Anderson)

US/Canada 🇺🇸 2021

133 mins


W: Paul Thomas Anderson

DP: Michael Bauman & Paul Thomas Anderson

Ed: Andy Jurgensen

Mus: Jonny Greenwood

Alana Haim (Alana Kane), Cooper Hoffman (Gary Valentine), Sean Penn (Jack Holden), Tom Waits (Rex Blau), Bradley Cooper (Jon Peters), Benny Safdie (Joel Wachs)

Licorice Pizza is a coming-of-age tale about a 25-year-old photographer’s assistant from a stern Jewish family who develops a relationship with a precocious teenager, formerly a juvenile actor, who has entrepreneurial aspirations.

There’s an obvious elephant in the room in this story, but it really isn’t as icky as you’d imagine, and the characters and their various scenarios play out incredibly naturally and realistically.

Set in the 1970’s, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson nails the period and attitudes of the time and even references some classic 1970’s cinema to perfection. Obvious inspirations are American Graffiti & Summer of ‘42, but there’s several more for the eager eye.

It’s a shame that this film wasn’t more well received by an audience, turning in a loss for the production, as it’s easily one of the best films of 2021, with star-making turns from both Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman (very much the son of his late father, Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a scene-stealing cameo from Bradley Cooper as egotistical Hollywood producer Jon Peters.


Cooper Hoffman & Alana Pope in Licorice Pizza
Cooper Hoffman & Alana Pope in Licorice Pizza