The Bling Ring - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Bling Ring Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 7, 2014
Was this a very dramatic retelling of the Hollywood Hills burglaries by accomplished director Sofia Coppola? No. Was it a "Spring Breakers" wannabe that reveled in debasing its main characters? Oh yes. That's what puts me off of Coppola's latest venture, starring Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, and newcomer Israel Broussard. Coppola obviously detests her characters, and throughout their depiction obviously judges them for their decisions. She doesn't flesh them realistically, and instead gives us flat, uneven characters whose only ambition seems to be partying, drinking, and being juvenile delinquents. Because the characters are flat, the story barely goes anywhere. The entire film is them roving around in celebrities' houses, which isn't entertaining. Marc has some legitimate backstory, but otherwise we're left with bubble headed teenagers trying to be gangsta, and failing miserably. I'd rather re-watch "Kids" than sit through teenaged tripe like this again.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2013
Based on actual events, The Bling Ring follows a clique of celeb and fashion obsessed kds of privilege who indulge in their love of both by burglarizing the homes of various celebrities, all the while ,not exactly keeping a low profile.

Like a number of Sofia Coppola's films, while adults do have a presence, this is a film dominated by the young. The core group of vapid, naive, yet not totally unlikeable youths are played by Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang, Claire Pfister, and newcomer Israel Broussard, who, like the men from previous Coppola efforts, delivers a very strong turn in a film filled with rock solid work. That's something I've grown to love about Coppola, how, no matter if they're a newbie or a veteran, she always manages to get her actors to deliver arguably some of, if not their absolute best work.

This film is a pretty timely one. Not that the events that it depicts happened all that long ago, but in this status and celebrity obsessed culture we live in, relevance is everything, and it's crucial to be up on all that latest news and trends.

In this regard, the film is both a crime caper, as well as a cheeky, light satire. I mean, some of it is pointed, but it's done in a way that I think will cause some people to not totally get it.

The film easily fits into Coppola's oeuvre and aesthetics, but I think that maybe at times it could have been more blunt and forceful with the more biting elements and moments. Kudos though, for getting permission to film in the actual celebrities's homes and recreate the crimes. I especially enjoyed robbery scene done in a single take from a distance.

As mentioned, the cast are awesome. Broussard is great, Emma Watson is a real scene stealer, and her American accent is delightful. I'd also love to see more of Chang and Farmiga. And, while I'm growing a bit weary of her, I enjoyed Leslie Mann as the mother of some of these girls, and she nails the modern day new-age philosophy of parenting "these type" of girls to a T.

All in all this is a glossy and fun film that will satisfy, but doesn't leave a strong legacy like the kind the characters aspie to have, Regardless, I dug it and think you should check it out.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2014
There was no real depth to this film. Of course, we are dealing with superficial characters is obviously not promising but I guess I hoped it would be more substantial in terms of content. Watson's American accent is understandably uneven.
Super Reviewer
½ November 14, 2013
It's easy to understand why "The Bling Ring" is such a divisive film. Character development and plot structure takes a backseat to a portrait of a very specific type of people. However, that depiction, while not always perfect (the dialogue sounds exactly like how an adult would think teenagers talk), the film is still beautiful and fascinating enough to work, thanks to Coppola's ability to give a palpable sense of atmosphere and beauty to even the most vapid of contexts.
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2013
If someone came up to me and said "Hey, describe "Bling Ring" to me", and first I would laugh. Then I'd say it's a true story about annoying teenagers, who feel entitled and rob a bunch of annoying celebrities. I remember when this happened a few years ago and just thought it was all stupid, and after watching this I think the same thing. First, the kids are annoying(although the acting is good in this), and the celebrities are stupid for making their homes so easy to break into. The star of the movie is Emma Watson and she does a great job. She nails that girl dead to rights. The movie is kind of interesting, but I think the biggest issue is Sophia Coppola's directing. She tends to make movies "artsy", and she does that here. Reminded me a lot of "Spring Breakers", only without the killings, sex, and James Franco's awesomeness. Is it worth a watch? Sure, a one- time viewing for free or from redbox is fine. But it's not something you'll probably come back to, or want to spend any real money on.
Super Reviewer
½ October 16, 2013
Writer/ Director Sophia Coppola's films have had a longstanding tradition of feeling a bit superficial and a bit hallow. Her trademarks then are a perfect fit for the characters in "The Bling Ring;" a fact-based chronicle of a band of California teens who robbed celebrity houses between 2008-2009.

Coppola's film is light as air (another trademark) and isn't as much concerned with fleshing out it's characters as it is having us straight tag along for the ride. I liked this because Coppola avoids making heroes of these delinquents (nor any judgments for that matter) allowing their actions to reveal all we need to know about them. What kind of people would knock off Paris Hilton's crib multiple times and brag to schoolmates about it? Who would post pictures of stolen merchandise to facebook, knowing full well the police have caught wind of their exploits? In this case, actions speak louder than words.

Really well done are the films "heist" scenes. They aren't played for thrills or suspense, instead exuding a voyeuristic quality that's both intriguing and immersive (especially in an impressive one take in which we watch an entire robbery unfold from well beyond the premises). Maintained throughout is a cool, care-free tone, attributed to the strong soundtrack and the final showcase for the vivid cinematography of the late, great Harris Savides. This is a beautiful movie visually.

Ultimately, it is a series of odd directorial decisions (many frustratingly common in Sophia Coppola's work) that hamper the picture. For a movie of only 90 minutes, "The Bling Ring" is littered with lingering scenes... some uncomfortably so. There are stretches of the film so consumed with montage and attempts at iconic imagery that it becomes numbing. We know these kids are shallow; we get it. Wallowing in it just makes the film itself more so. The extent to which clothes and jewels are fetishized in the break-ins for example, lessen the pace of these scenes. You get the sense that with a little fine tuning, "The Bling Ring" could have been on par with this year's other timely youth gone wild parable; Harmony Korine's (great) "Spring Breakers."

The entire cast is solid here, with Emma Watson surprisingly not placed front row center. New comers Katie Chang and Israel Broussard headline most of the film, until the last act when Watson jarringly becomes the star... as expected.

"The Bling Ring" is a rather vacuous exercise, but one that nevertheless suits it's subject matter. Thankfully it's also terrifically shot and strangely alluring. Coppola's film is all surface, frustrating in spot, but a fascinating watch that while hard to love really does have it's moments.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2013
Coppola adopts an interesting neutral approach to this ironic and witty story of glamour and celebrity culture, never pointing fingers or trying to understand her characters but just taking a wry look at the empty lives of a bunch of shallow, selfish and spoiled teenagers.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2013
Living the Dream, One Heist at a Time.

Good movie! Sofia Coppola gets it, she gets this social media generation. In her latest film The Bling Ring, Coppola gives us a vibrant portrait of a society thats culture is so lost it's hard to decide who you hate more; wannabes or celebrities. I loved the way this film was shot. It's interesting, the way we view these characters is almost in the background, as if we the audience are in fact the surveillance camera we remain distant from the people on screen not understanding what drives them or even feeling the thrill of robberies. Emma Watson is fantastic. The way she portrays Nicki's vacant need to fulfill her meaningless desires was striking and the accent and voice inflections made the performance all the more impressive. Besides Emma, most of the other girls are forgettable which I enjoyed; at times you can confuse them with one another because they try so hard to be the same style of person.

Overall I really enjoyed the film. The entire thing feels like this giant master plan that will need multiple viewing to take in everything Coppola was trying to say. While not as surprising as I thought it was going to be the themes explored near the end of the film were worth the fabulously detailed ride we knew to expect from the trailer. The Bling Ring is a unique social commentary, which on the surface layer is bound to be compared to Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, both giving us their take on sociopathic young teens. Where the films differ thematically is the interesting part. You'll have to figure that one out on your own.

Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2013
The Bling Ring looked quite good by the look of the trailers. Unfortunately it only ends up being a decent movie with a good cast of actors. I really wanted to enjoy it a lot more than I did, as the subject is quite interesting, but in the end leaves a lot to be desired and you realize that the film had the potential of being much better than what it turned out to be. The story concerns teens that have broken into the houses of celebrities and steal their expensive belongings. They end up stealing millions of dollars worth of stuff, and it becomes an obsession with them to raid the houses of celebrities and commit crimes against them. They commit crimes against some celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Really no one cares about anymore. The story is interesting, but it should have been done a bit better. I liked the film, but I really expected someone much more elaborate than this. The Bling Ring is a watchable movie, but it's nothing ever memorable. It's a fun one at that, if you can get past its flaws. Emma Watson stars, and she gives a good performance here, but it's nowhere near her performances in the Harry Potter films or Perks of Being a Wallflower. However I must admit, at least she's able to execute something very different in each of her movies, so she doesn't get typecast. I enjoyed the film, but it's simply a decent one at best and you can just imagine how good the film could have been if the script would have been reworked. With a plot like this, it could have been something truly special. However, the filmmakers made a film that fell short of its potential. Worth seeing, but don't have high hope for it.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2013
Main problem with this is that there is no depth to the characters. I couldn't tell one from the other. Shallow little rich girls breaking into celebrities homes and stealing stuff. No back stories or anything to make you feel anything at all for any of them. Maybe the guy I felt sorry for at the end. That's about it.
The film looks nice and the celebrity homes were interesting. Not sure if they were real or not. Apparently Paris's was? I did like her little nightclub room.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2013
four stars
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2013
I'm usually a fan of Sofia Coppola's indie slow burn, but "The Bling Ring" is a surprisingly bland pop confection that isn't nearly as satisfying as a celebrity pantie raid should be. The points of view are unbalanced; it's unclear which member(s) of the group we're supposed to identify, if not empathize with. The bookend interviews of Emma Watson's Nicki are interesting at the beginning but confusing by the end. What IS her real/fake story? There's also a pretty big real life detail that this "based on a true story" ignores: none of the celebrities actually noticed that their property was missing; Marc started losing it due to anxiety and tattled on himself and the ring, which then led to all of them confessing to these unreported crimes instead of plea bargaining. These omitted details say more about our culture of excess, crime not paying, consequences of being a stupid criminal, than the movie does. It would have made a stronger critical or satirical thesis for this well-directed music video (burnliment!).

Now, let's talk about the acting from this cast of beautiful young adults, which generated much of the buzz in my estimation. Katie Chang, as the ringleader Rebecca, has a rare blend of nice non-threatening lobotomized demeanor and luminous, slow-motion beauty that perfectly masks the sociopathic deviant underneath.

Emma Watson is...uneven. She does SOME things great, like skank dancing, pole dancing, and wearing the hell out of those large sunglasses. Go Hermione. Her American accent is somewhat inconsistent. I rather liked the snippet from the trailer of her doing the first interview because she picked a specific dialect - that of a valley girl. Throughout the rest of the movie though, she adopts the default accentless accent, and it's not as compelling. A couple of her vapid deadpans DO hit the mark, but other times, her mean girl posturing suffers from the same restless eyebrows and pursed lips that plagued HP. Emma Watson is hella gorgeous, and she's a fantastic solo model, but her problem is that she pulls focus. She doesn't blend into the ensemble; she is always self-conscious, holding her face a certain way to make sure she looks perfect.

The scenestealer would have to be Claire Julien as the hard-partying Chloe. Her deep smoker's rasp and raccoon eyes are just nice nuances to her devil-may-care aura. Her silent mug shot sequence, which shows her simply turning from right to front to left, is amazing for her glazed and misty eyes, and the seemingly innocuous family breakfast preceding her arrest is suspenseful because of the nearing sirens, yapping dogs, and her gradual tensing as she eats her cereal.
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2013
"The Bling Ring" is some respects, is a little disappointing, but the fact that this is a true story is really what kept me interested. I accepted how easy things were to be done in the film, solely on the fact that it actually happened. The cast is decent enough to get the point across, because the acting is kind of overdone and the characteristics seem a little dated from what they used to be, which is presented well, but like I said, a bit overdone. As we follow these people through celebrity homes, that just happen to be conveniently unlocked, they steal priceless merchandise and loads of cash these celebrities have in their homes. From Paris Hilton to Kirsten Dunst, there are many nice little cameos to say that we are watching a film that takes place in California and not staged somewhere else. This film is shot on location everywhere through the Hollywood hills, and I admired that. This film is a tad slow at times, but the energy in each character and the music in the film keeps you involved every step of the way. The camera shots are very unique (that was my favourite part of the film) and the script is solid. "The Bling Ring" is nothing to write home about, but it's a solid film.
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2013
Extra character development is sacrificed at times for an excess of robbery scenes that get slightly tiresom, but ''The Bling Ring'' is a fun, well-written and insightful look into celebrity culture.
Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
July 6, 2013
I don't know....maybe if I were 15 and had a thing for rhinestones and ostentatious carry-on luggage.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2013
Truly a great film. Great performances--especially from Watson and Broussard--great writing, and an appropriately rousing and hip soundtrack. It is aesthetically beautiful, wonderfully crafted, and artistically directed. What makes it really memorable is not only its commentary on teen and pop culture, but its surprisingly intimate look at the life of these teenagers as well as the raw emotions we see arise in Broussard's character, making him a sympathetic and almost tragic figure.
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