The Bling Ring is based on a true story so strange, it could only have happened in the moneyed ’burbs of L.A. Five teens—four girls, one guy—take their obsession with luxe living to the next level by burglarizing celebrity homes for thrills, bills, and prescription pills.
In Sofia Coppola’s retelling of the crew’s crimes, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, and Israel Broussard play teens as familiar with couture fashion and exclusive nightclubs as they are with drugs and gangster rap. Rebecca (Chang) charms Marc (Broussard) into robbing their first target as a lark—after all, why would someone as rich as Paris Hilton actually leave her key under the mat? They can’t resist bragging about their score, and soon their whole prissy posse wants in. So the gang infiltrates homes like a Louboutin-obsessed Manson Family, hungry for expensive trinkets and the vicarious thrill of jumping on a celebrity’s bed. More disconcerting than the burglaries themselves, however, is the nihilistic hedonism at the heart of the crew’s hijinks. “Let’s go shopping!” Rebecca chirps, eager to browse in someone else’s closet.
The Bling Ring expands on ideas from Coppola’s previous films surrounding the perils of teenage girlhood, the emptiness of Hollywood, and the dangers of getting everything you ever wanted. All the teen hooligans get moments to shine, but Harry Potter alum Emma Watson’s turn as fame-hungry Nicki is clearly the standout performance. Forget Perks of Being a Wallflower: this Adderall-popping nightmare is Watson’s real post-Hermione breakthrough.
By Jenni Miller