Bling Ring, The



Main Cast: Emma Watson, Israel Broussard

Director: Sofia Coppola

Hello all of my lovely fans out there in the dark.  I’m still in New York City in an opulent suite at the Ritz Carlton.  I’m spending my days hitting up all of my connections to see if there’s a theatrical endeavor worthy of my talents.  With all of the new shows on the Rialto plus the other live entertainment venues that have come roaring back since the times of the pandemic, there must certainly be something that could use my talents and star wattage on the marquee.  After all, I have more Oscars than Sarah Paulson and Rachel McAdams and they have new shows this season.  Jessica Lange has more than I do, but I remain much more youthful than she at my professional age of 39, despite having been in the business several decades longer than she has.

Just your average accommodations.

My first trip was to the Hudson theater to see about replacing Lindsay Mendez as Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along as I understand she’s only been showing up for work about once a week and I am much more dependable than that.  During my last Broadway run, I only missed one curtain and that was because Eve Harrington and her friend Karen had done something to the spark plugs on my car and I was left stranded on the side of the road in Connecticut for some hours.  But I did arrive back at the theater in time to go on for the second act to absolutely rapturous applause. Unfortunately, Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe nixed my joining the trio as they thought that my magnetic stage presence might detract from their performances, and they were unwilling to learn the tap combinations necessary for a rewritten first act finale which would show off my mad tap skills.  I did get a note from the producers of Water for Elephants to come in for a reading, but I demurred when they told me it was for the title role.  I have put a few pounds on with the years but I don’t think I’m quite in that category yet.

Something usually turns up so I’m determined to keep myself in fighting form.  I’ve scheduled tap, barre, and silks classes at the Broadway Dance Center and I’m off to the Metropolitan Opera for some vocal coaching.  I haven’t done opera in a while, but Peter Gelb should consider putting me on in one of his lesser selling shows this season as my name in the papers will guarantee full houses, even for La Rondine.  I do have some down time between all of these activities of course so I’ve decided to catch up on some film titles I’ve missed in the past few years.  First up was Sofia Coppola’s 2013 film The Bling Ring, a suggestion of Jackson, my sommelier who always finds it a good pairing with a dry and not too fruity white.

The Bling Ring is based on a true story of a group of bored adolescents of privilege who go on a crime spree robbing the homes of celebrities only a few years older than they are.  The kids track celebrity movements via the internet and when they are not at home, break in and help themselves to the luxury goods they’ve been coveting via celebrity focused online culture.  Just like any drug, they need bigger and bigger doses as time goes on and, as they aren’t the brightest of bunnies, they ultimately are caught.  It’s not a complicated film but with an ensemble of young actors who provide entertaining performances.  Most of them were unknowns, and have pretty much remained that way with the exception of Emma Watson who was just off Harry Potter and trying to change up her image.

This is much more a director’s film than an actor’s film and Sofia Coppola, who also wrote the screenplay, is much more interested in exploring the parallels between the celebrities and the wannabes and how the trappings of excess as represented in upscale luxury consumer goods are what hold them together.  The film somewhat revels in the moral ambiguity of the celebrity lifestyle and how that holds out temptations that even the privileged cannot easily access.  The story doesn’t make our teen burglars either heroes or villains.  It lets us make up our own minds and, the last scene which shows protagonist Rebecca (Katie Chang) commenting on how she was serving her jail time in the same place as Lindsay Lohan, cements how Coppola is seeing two sides of the same coin.

Emma Watson gives the best performance of the young actors as Nicky, a teen more or less abandoned by her family and taken in by another. Leslie Mann, as her vapid wealthy valley foster mom, however, blows everyone else off the screen in her few scenes which help us understand just how lack of good parenting stunts moral development.  Katie Chang and Israel Broussard, as the gang ringleaders, who start by checking the doors on expensive cars parked in the neighborhood and helping themselves if they find them unlocked and then moving on to the homes of peers whom they know to be out of town, are both extremely attractive and have some decent chemistry together but don’t ultimately have the sparks that would lift The Bling Ring up a level.

Coppola stages some scenes wonderfully well.  A dispassionate look at a glass Hollywood Hills mansion from a distance as we see our young offenders enter, search, and escape with their loot.  Young people running across the screen in the dark, silhouettes against the lights of the valley. Explorations of the excess in the boudoirs of such figures as Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom. It gives the flavor of old episodes of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous gone very wrong.  At the end, I felt somewhat uncomfortable with myself for admiring celebrity lives and luxury goods on any level.  And that, I think, is exactly what Sofia Coppola intended.  As a child of Hollywood royalty and privilege, who better to subtly comment on it?

A more talented cast would have made The Bling Ring a better film but the one that exists isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours. And to wonder why Leslie Mann doesn’t work more often.

Night clubbing. Pole dancing. Birkin bag. Cute outfits. High school anomie.  Party drug use. Porsche convertible.  Gratuitous traffic accident. Multiple Rolexes. Prison bus boarding. 

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get Netflix Dates emailed free to you every week