EIFF Review: The Bling Ring

-Helen Russell

Sofia Coppola’s latest offering opens with a teenage girl talking about her wish to study at FIDM, because it’s where “The Hills girls” went. But although the film starts with an innocent dream to join the culture of celebrity, shared by thousands of teenagers the world over, it goes on to depict the not-so-innocent story of The Bling Ring. The catchy title referring to a group of California teenagers who burgled celebrities homes in the Hollywood Hills in 2008/9, stashing over $3 million worth of cash and belongings.

The Bling Ring is fun to look at, with shots of beautiful clothes and jewellery inter-woven with real clips of celebrities on the red carpet, giving the audience a sense of the lure of the lifestyle longed for by the criminal teens. Shots of social-networking updates help give a modern and youthful feel to the film, sure to appeal to younger audiences, and scenes in the celebrity homes are also enjoyable, with great moments mocking the very same celebrity lifestyle that the teens are longing for. But for a film based on real-life events, it still feels unbelievable.

When the gang find Paris Hilton’s key under her doormat and wander in to no alarms, you have to quiet the voice in your head screaming “that’s ridiculous!” and remember that it really happened. The film relies on its status as “based-on-true-events” to remain within the realms of believability, but it treads a fine line.

The young Bling Ring cast are at times painfully accurate in their depiction of cocky teenagers, with Emma Watson making a particularly cringe-inducing brat. Although it’s almost hard to watch at times, the classic teenage attitude brings a lot of the much appreciated humour to the film.

As a retelling of a true story The Bling Ring is enjoyable, fresh and good-looking, however it seems a headline is not quite enough to fill a film and at times the storyline feels, much like the members of the Bling Ring, shallow.


-Helen saw The Bling Ring as part of Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2013

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