THE BLING RING. This film with Emma Watson captivates from the very first scene

The story is based on true events.

Filip Jalowski

30 December 2023

When the first trailers for The Bling Ring appeared on the internet, I was somewhat concerned. Sofia Coppola has always been a director who tells intimate and sensitive stories about people who have lost their way at some point in their lives. The paths of her characters intersected at the least expected points, and the director simply observed what would come of it. The premise of Bling Ring was entirely different. Disco lights, short skirts, trendy clubs, and kids intentionally breaking into the homes of American celebrities – where does Coppola fit into all of this?

The driving force behind the advertising campaign was, of course, the name Emma Watson. Advertisers ruthlessly exploited the fact that the young actress is at a critical point in her career. Watson has to prove that she is capable of not being forever associated only with the role of Hermione. The Bling Ring was supposed to be the first stage of these transformations (for the purposes of advertising, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which Watson handles a dramatic role more than well, was kept silent). The hook, of course, worked.

At Cannes, the premiere of The Bling Ring turned out to be one of the most important events of the festival. Kilometer-long queues formed at the cinema, while slightly shorter lines appeared near the barriers where the crew, led by Watson, was expected to appear. Although Coppola’s film did not win any awards, it was the talk of the town, and reviews were eagerly awaited. Did The Bling Ring deserve the Un Certain Regard award? I don’t think so. Nevertheless, it is a very successful film, although completely different from what Sofia Coppola has accustomed us to over the years.

The story is based on true events. A group of teenagers fascinated by the glamor of celebrity life began to envy them for their branded clothes, horribly expensive jewelry, and life in luxurious mansions. Gossip websites report on every move of famous people. Google Maps, on the other hand, knows the locations of their residences. All that remains is to wait for the moment when the resident is not at home and go on a little tour, combined with appropriating valuable souvenirs. The members of the Bling Ring stole from the homes of many American stars. Coppola was inspired to make the film by an article published in “Vanity Fair.” The article, with a quite suggestive title – “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” – describes “what these kids came up with.”

In many reviews, one of the main criticisms of the film is that the characters seem painfully one-dimensional. Such accusations, in the context of a film that tells the story of a group of immature individuals fixated on gossip websites like our native Pudelek, sincerely surprise me. Coppola deliberately plays with the plastic creating this world, and her characters are nothing more than kids who let themselves be carried away by all this media foolishness. The Bling Ring does not want to be a profound case study. This is not cinema that takes a problem and digs into it with the inquisitiveness of a meticulous sociology professor. Coppola’s film is just as plastic as the world it tells about, but in no way is that a disadvantage. Bling Ring ironically plays with this world and its aesthetics, and – as you know – irony leads to reflection.

That’s why Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang (the best role in the film, but also the most developed character), Claire Julien, and Israel Broussard run from house to house, try on the next trendy trinkets, and marvel at celebrity gadgets to the rhythm of the noisy yet charming music of Sleigh Bells. There is no place for deep reflection in this film because it is certainly the last thing the characters in this story thought about. They do not oppose the establishment, do not fight for free media, minority rights, or the territorial inviolability of the Rospuda Valley. They are just a bunch of kids who (to their own surprise) found a way to move to the world they dream of in their dreams adorned with the MTV logo with minimal effort.

And it is precisely this lack of laments that is convincing in The Bling Ring. Coppola does not point fingers, does not despair over the condition of contemporary society, but gently taps her forehead, pointing out certain absurdities of this world. Moreover, this film is bought in the very first scene, when Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga appear before our eyes (after a night spent together in a large bed), followed by many more visual attractions.

And how can you not love Coppola’s vision?