Being someone that has admired celebrity and fashion for most of my life, I get the allure of Hollywood and fame. It seems to be one big glitzy, glamorous party that I would just love to crash and be a part of it.
But the thing is… I’m a sane, rational person who would never have any desire to break into celebrity homes and steal their stuff.
I guess that’s what The Bling Ring so fascinating, watching this group of teenagers shamelessly trespass into celebrity’s homes, violating their privacy and stealing their valuables. Sofia Coppola takes this story based on true events and spins it into a parody/commentary on today’s youth and the obsession with celebrity and materialism.
The Bling Ring begins by following Marc (Israel Broussard) on his first day at a new high school. Marc is bullied in the typical “new kid” fashion, and it’s starting to get to him until he meets Rebecca (Katie Chang). She takes him in, and the two become fast friends. However, Rebecca—to put it lightly—is a kleptomaniac. At first, Marc is stunned when Rebecca tells him to go “check out the cars” with her, where she walks the down the block of a rich LA neighborhood and checks all the cars for unlocked doors to steal any cash or valuables left inside by the owners. Not wanting to lose the only friend he really has, Marc goes along with it, especially when he sees how much money and stuff they’re racking in. Slowly, their thievery escalates, first by trespassing in a rich friend’s house and then on to the big one: Paris Hilton’s mansion. Eventually, they rope in a few more friends in to the action: Nicki (Emma Watson), Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and Chloe (Claire Julien).
The first thing that comes to mind is “Does anyone in LA lock their doors?” It was bit alarming how easy it was to break into some of these celebrities homes. But once you get passed that, it’s strangely fun to see what they do and take once inside. I really liked how director Sofia Coppola shot some of these scenes. A scene that pops into my mind instantly is one long shot of Marc and Rebecca breaking into Audrina Patridge’s home. It’s set from afar; there’s little sound and the home is paneled in glass, so we can see them come in and out rooms.
Rebecca, the ringleader, clearly is the most enamored and obsessed with fame, making her the biggest sociopath of them all. Chang gives Rebecca a simultaneously inviting and detached personality. She’s driven and knows what she wants, and that kind of ambition is admirable if she wasn’t such a psycho about it. It’s easy to feel sorry for Marc, especially when he explains why he did what he did as film flicks forward into scenes of the teens being individually interviewed for the Vanity Fair article “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” that the movie is based off. You almost can’t blame for Marc getting caught in Rebecca’s web.
Emma Watson’s Nicki is ridiculous and funny. Homeschooled in the way of “The Secret” by her mom (Leslie Mann), Nicki and her friend, Sam, are the epitome of superficial. Of course, Nicki aspires to be actress, but she really just wants to be famous. Watson plays Nicki with such great comedic timing. You can see she’s having fun with the role, and it’s great to see Watson tackle a very different character than the one that has made her so famous. Farmiga’s Sam is basically Nicki’s follower, but probably has a few more nails loose. Chloe rounds out the group as the cool, California chick and has connections at some of the best LA clubs.
A movie based on the Bling Ring could’ve been hit or miss. But Coppola definitely finds a captivating way of telling the tale. Her script and the performances give us something thought-provoking out of something superficial (unlike another “teens go wild” movie this year). Sure, those thoughts aren’t exactly ground-breaking, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you actually get something out of this movie besides celebrity-obsessed teens jamming to a killer soundtrack.
The Bling Ring is now playing in select theaters. It’s one of our Top 10 Most Anticipated Summer Indie films.