Given that I’ve been obsessed with Alexis Neiers since I first saw her show Pretty Wild on “E” four years ago (Netflix it if you haven’t seen it), I was super excited when I saw previews for Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Scenes from the trailer appeared to be straight out of the show, and after seeing the movie I truly believe that Coppola binge watched Pretty Wild one night before deciding to make this film.
The movie, which is based on the celebrity burglaries that happened a few years ago, and on Nancy Jo Sale’s “Vanity Fair” article about the privileged LA teens that stole almost 3 million dollars worth of merchandise, did an outstanding job of capturing the tone of my generation. In fifty years when people are analyzing the youth culture of the early 2000’s, this film will be used as a research tool. From the slang we use (“It was super chill” is repeated over and over), to the fashion (there were multiple beanies), to the prevalence of girls taking selfies in the club (we’ve all been there), it is a period piece as accurate as Mad Men is to the 1960’s. But what I thought was most interesting was it’s underlying commentary about our celebrity-obsessed culture.
To be honest, I don’t even think the motivation for what the “Bling Ring” did has anything to do an obsession with celebrities. Our generation is most obsessed with ourselves. We use our Facebook pages as our own personal tabloid magazines- where there is always a gorgeous picture of us on the cover and people can scroll through to see what we’re up to, who we’re friends with, what we’re wearing, etc. We don’t just look up to celebrities, we want to be celebrities. We want people to not only know what we’re doing, but to care about what we’re doing. We want as many “followers” as possible. The only difference between us and actual celebrities is that paparazzi post celebrities’ pictures all over the internet, and we have to post our own pictures all over the internet.
I know many people my age will see this movie and judge the teens it’s based on. And while obviously none of you have ever gone to the extreme of breaking into celebrities’ houses and stealing their belongings, take a minute and think about how much of the film could be a portrayal of your own lives. The Bling Ring isn’t just a depiction of a group of celebrity obsessed thieves- it is making a bold and unidealized statement about our entire generation.