Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut revisits adolescence through the eyes of four middle school girls obsessed with the novels of V.C. Andrews. The film explores the politics of teenage girls during a pivotal time in their lives through a plot against the school’s boys in a secret plan codenamed “Lick the Star”.
Even with the poignant interruption of the potential finality of self-inflicted violence, the brief yet punchy Lick The Star boldly posits that “nothing changes and life goes on.” As a pack of Heathers-ish tweens plan transgressive acts based on angsty literature, the audience is reintroduced to an age old question with no answer in sight: what’s wrong with the kids these days? Coppola’s construction of middle school malaise need not be read as her own philosophy or position, but as a representation of an attitude towards the overly-rich, overly-white, overly-bored students that allow themselves to be caught up in this aforementioned spiral of violence. The film’s dynamic yet precise style reflects this. Layered dialog, comprised mostly of indistinct whispers, creates the sense that these kids really have nothing to say other than petty and destructive gossip. Even the supposed “queen” Chloe who acts as the film’s primary narrative object loses much of her meaning by the film’ conclusion, as denoted by the shift from expressive and worshipful cinematography to her somber exit in the final shot. While these young women may verbally espouse nearly no redeemable qualities, their honest insincerity and constant performative cattiness prevent them from being wholly unlikable. In fact, it seems as if Coppola would rather the viewer pity the members of the “Lick The Star” Clique than condemn their behavior, as they are clearly the unfortunate products of a privileged yet dissatisfactory upbringing. Middle school can often feel cold, like the transitional clinic between coddled childhood and uninhibited adolescence. Perhaps this implicit call for compassion should be heard, even if the film’s close suggests that actions are without consequences; it is this contradiction that adds significant weight to Coppola’s snappy yet subdued short.
329MB | 13 min 48 s | 768×576 | mkv