Alana Haim is the younger sister of the trio Haim, an alternative, weird, funny and, at the same time, cool musical group. Alana, as well as her two sisters, Este and Danielle, were already friends with the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, of “Licorice Pizza”, years before the film took place. Paul had even been a student of the girls’ mother back in school.
In the history of friendship, he had already directed a short film about the Haims, made several video clips of the band and had also documented a concert by the sisters. The relationship between Alana and Paul was already comfortable and familiar when the opportunity arose to share the sets of “Licorice Pizza”.
The film received three Oscar nominations in 2022, in the categories of best picture, best direction and best original screenplay. It didn’t take any of the statuettes, but it conquered its space in the history of cinematography, because it will probably become a classic for future generations. But a classic in the style of “Harold and Maude”: eccentric, insightful and slightly obscure.
“Licorice Pizza” is set in 1970s San Francisco and has that sunny summer atmosphere. Alana (Alana Haim) is 25 years old and works as an assistant to a photographer, who is serving at a high school. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is a 15-year-old student who, despite not having the perfect physique, has enough talk and guts to make him a conqueror of women and entrepreneur in a waterbed business.
He is instantly attracted to Alana and asks her out. The young woman accepts, but does not allow herself to express her feelings because of the age difference. The two get close and end up becoming partners in the water mattress business. Living in a kind of colorful friendship, there is no verbalized relationship between them, nor are there kisses and snuggles.
For Alana, who comes from a conservative, harsh and closed family, Gary is like the arrival of summer. He is a child actor, outgoing, confident and dreamy. Beside him, everything seems possible, magical and fun.
Despite being older, Alana always seems to be the most vulnerable in the relationship. Gary shouts, imposes himself, dictates the rules and, even after protests, she follows the letter. At various times, they are toxic and abusive to each other. They desperately seek to find love in other people to forget about the love they feel for each other.
Despite being younger, it is Gary who pulls Alana out of the bubble, who takes her on a journey of self-discovery, one that makes her feel like a woman, not a girl anymore. Forbidden romance has a flavor of danger and melancholy. It seems to be doomed to failure, but deep down it’s sweet. The story refers to the nostalgia of adolescence and reminds us of when we started to discover the world outside ourselves and our feelings, even so, we felt more lost than anything.
Gary is played by actor Cooper Hoffman, son of the late and genius Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who left before he died, in writing, the wish for his son to grow up in Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco or somewhere where there was cultural abundance. Where he had access to the arts and architecture. Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is the first on his résumé and made him feel comfortable enough to convince us that he’s just as much of an actor as his father.
Movie: Licorice Pizza
Direction: Paul Thomas Anderson