NR Digital

No Green Light

by Ross Douthat

A review of The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring, the latest film from Sofia Coppola, marks something of a departure for its director. After several movies that have looked at the celebrity lifestyle from the inside — whether in the fancy hotels of Asia and California or in their 18th-century equivalent, Versailles — she’s decided to tell a story about how celebrity culture influences the kind of people who are on the outside looking in.

Her subjects this time are a gang of upper-middle-class L.A. girls (and one hapless guy) who perpetrated a string of high-profile burglaries about five years ago, robbing such stars as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and then, when the cops caught up with them, leveraging their notoriety into the celebrity they obviously craved. It’s a story that seems perfectly calibrated to illustrate the strange anxieties of affluence, the way that privilege often only generates an even stronger urge to get further up and further in, and the role that “famous for being famous” figures such as Hilton and Lohan play in making stardom seem oddly accessible — something easily grasped, or in this case easily stolen.

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