Based on True Events, The Bling Ring Opens in Theaters

There is an overwhelming amount of news about Hollywood celebrities that at times can be nauseating. Some is true, some is exaggerated and some things many people do not have time to really care about, considering what some people face on a day to day basis. I totally missed the news a few years back about the affluent California teens that broke into celebrities’ homes and stole their apparel and accessories, cash, drugs and home goods, among other items. It was probably something I may have heard of briefly, but dismissed, thinking it was another marketing gimmick to keep celebrities in the news. Lindsey Lohan, who has been accused of theft herself, was a target among other celebrities.

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These true life events are now dramatized on the big screen as The Bling Ring by director Sofia Coppola, and her screenplay is based on the Vanity Fair article, The Suspects Wore Louboutins, by Nancy Jo Sales. This is not a documentary, but after viewing this film that runs 87 minutes, I can’t help but think there is something missing from the story. The screenplay does give a little background on the young people in the theft ring, but I would have preferred to have had more details on them, so it appears as if these filmmakers may have edited out too much.

For other viewers in my situation who may not have known the facts about these true life events, there is no indication as to the dates these events occurred. As the film is wrapping, these affluent people are shown as receiving extremely light sentences for the crimes committed, considering the goods stolen were in the millions. It would have been more interesting to know if they are still in jail or out living it up with their affluent parents who could afford the good lawyers. There is a variety of people involved in the theft and one in particular seems to have become a celebrity for it, spinning her web of deceit and is apparently glad for her time in the limelight.

The film is rated R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language, including some brief sexual references. I am surprised that in the film, the teens are shown using drugs and alcohol quite a bit, yet none of the characters in this film appear as if drug use and hard partying has any effect on them, their behavior or appearance. The squeaky clean look is not realistic for having been excess alcohol and cocaine users, so then I do not feel this story reflects the complete story. They party and stay out all night with this heavy drug use and the parents (in this film) never seem to notice the change in behavior, how late they stay out, where they have acquired the new clothes and money, etc., except for one scene when a mother asks and believes the daughter’s lie.

Unbelievable, I still say. But hey, this is what our world has come to; the affluent that have enough still want more and somehow seem to find a way to justify robbing others to acquire the goods some people are dismissing as a “youthful mistake.” Unfortunately, the reality is if less affluent teens are tempted to do the same, or similar, stealing goods that amount to a lot less than millions, the justice system may not be as kind to them in California or other states.

The Bling Ring stars Emma Watson, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale, and Paris Hilton, who was a victim of this ring’s criminal adventures. The overall performances are good, but my favorite two are Watson and Broussard as they interpret their real life character’s story.

There is some original music by Brian Reitzell and Daniel Lopatin that can be a draw for some viewers, as well as songs by some major recording stars, so I definitely give the filmmakers props for their selection of music. The Bling Fling opens in theaters nationwide June 21st. It will be fine for a matinee, but otherwise, I do not think it is worth the full price of admission.

Liz Lopez

Rating B-/C+

Source: A24

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