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‘Licorice Pizza’ First Reactions: PTA Is Back with ‘Incredible’ Debut Performance from Alana Haim

Paul Thomas Anderson's 1970s-set San Fernando Valley coming-of-age film is beginning to screen before opening in November.

"Licorice Pizza"

“Licorice Pizza”

MGM

First screenings in Los Angeles have arrived for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza,” his 1970s-set coming-of-age film starring Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. The movie, his first since 2017’s “Phantom Thread,” is set to launch in limited release on November 26, before going wide on Christmas Day. So far, early word is positive for the film set in the San Fernando Valley, and co-starring Bradley Cooper and Benny Safdie. Check out first reactions off Twitter below.

Per distributor MGM, “‘Licorice Pizza’ is the story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973… the film tracks the treacherous navigation of first love.”

One person who’s also seen the movie is John C. Reilly, who sat down with Haim for Interview magazine to talk all things PTA.

“When Paul sent me that first screen test [of Cooper and Alana], I was like, ‘Dude, if you can keep them feeling this free, I think you’ve got a movie,’” Reilly said. “You know the phrase, ‘You can’t take your eyes off her?’ I’ve experienced that feeling before, watching a fireplace or a baby, but rarely with adults. When I visited the set, I remember sitting there and being glued to the monitor, even between takes. I turned to Paul, and I was like, ‘You can’t take your fucking eyes off [Alana].’ He looked at me like, ‘Right?’”

Reilly continued, “The only other actor who makes me feel that way is Joaquin Phoenix. Watching him is like watching a raccoon rummage through garbage cans. What is he gonna do now? Why look at anything else, while this is going on? It’s hard to keep that energy on camera, Alana. Take it from an old clown like me.”

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