'The Bling Ring': What the Critics Thought About Sofia Coppola's Take on the Culture-Obsessed Valley Girls

The Wrap

Based on the true story of a group of Hollywood-culture-obsessed California Valley girls (and one guy) who raided the homes of celebs when they were out of town, Sofia Coppola's fifth film, "The Bling Ring," came out Friday. 

Some of the "ring's" real life-victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox. Eventually, the gang amassed $3 million in valuables before getting caught.

We know that they're terrible people, but is the film any good?

Critics overall were mixed -- including TheWrap's two critics.

Sasha Stone, who covered the film at Cannes didn't equivocate. "While some will always maintain 'Lost in Translation' is her best work, 'The Bling Ring' represents a far more ambitious movie for this filmmaker," she wrote after the film's showing at Cannes.

Also read: Cannes Review: 'The Bling Ring' Rips Open the Fame Game

"For once, she has stepped outside her comfort zone of portraying the languid wistfulness of disaffected youth in "atmosphere" films about the well-to-do. Here's what the critics are saying.

Our regular critic, Alonso Duralde, wasn't so enthusiastic. The film, he wrote, "confirms that none of (the 'ring-ers') deserved the camera time."

"Fans of Coppola's cool, detached style can predict that she doesn't use this true story as a launching pad for satire, but she doesn't do anything else with the material," Duralde added. "This isn't a character study, or an examination of the effects of young people being force-fed a materialistic lifestyle, or a condemnation of amoral youth lacking for guidance. She neither explains nor excuses nor extols nor excoriates these kids, which would be fine, but she doesn't really examine them either."

Also read: 'The Bling Ring' Review: All Dressed Up, Goes Nowhere  

A. O. Scott of the New York Times wasn't enthusiastic, either: "The film … has a quiet, sensual glow that communicates the lust that drives its characters." He continued, "'The Bling Ring' occupies a vertiginous middle ground between banality and transcendence, and its refusal to commit to one or the other is both a mark of integrity and a source of frustration." Is Scott's refusal to commit to a simple 'good' or 'bad' a source of frustraion for you?

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times found the film "beautifully rendered" but said that "no deeper insight is to be found." She called Katie Chang, who plays Bling Ring mastermind Rebecca, an "impressive newcomer" and praise Coppola's dialogue, but said the story does not "grab you."

Claudia Puig of USA Today gave "The Bling Ring" two-and-a-half stars out of a possible four. She also touted the film's "visual flourishes" and its "few snarky laughs," but didn't believe that Coppola delved deeply enough into the psyche of kids obsessed with fashion, coolness and celebrities.

Pulg's closing line was her most damning: "The film is like a more expertly shot episode of a reality show, with the final product as disposable as last year's swag."

Kyle Smith of the New York Post clearly enjoyed the film more. He gave Coppola's effort a strong three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it "magnetic" and "a slam dunk conservative critique of America culture," though he admitted that it is "slight of aim and repetitive of structure."

Also read: Sofia Coppola's 'Bling Ring' to Open Cannes Festival's Certain Regard

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded "The Bling Ring" three stars out of four, saying the movie "sparks like a live wire." Travers added: "The gifted Coppola proceeds with the exacting cool of an anthropologist and the discerning eye of a true sensualist."

He praised Emma Watson is "sensational" as Nicki, and Leslie Mann is "terrific" as her on-screen mom. Travers called Katie Chang "mesmerizing."

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