Licorice Pizza is a romantic comedy and drama rolled into one. It tells the story of growing up, pure love of two completely different people. Sad and funny at the same time, the story leaves a pleasant aftertaste.
The plot is simple, but there is something new and unusual in it, although it does not depart from the clichés of love stories. The main characters meet completely by accident, their worlds are completely different, their views on life too, even age spreads a huge abyss in front of them, because Gary is only fifteen, and Alana is twenty-five years old.
Gary is one of those who is constantly looking for himself and his place in the world. Purposeful, active, self-confident and always ready to rush into battle, he, in fact, has not quite understood what he wants from life. He works in different fields, plays for the public, successfully implements his business ideas and does not miss a single skirt. He is young and cheerful, open to the world and with the joy of a tired traveler rushes to the girls, looking for shelter and warmth in their love. He is just a boy, but he already copes well with the role of an actor (although sometimes he causes skepticism in interviews and gives out stupid jokes), begins to master the art of marketing and is particularly imprudent, jealous and envious.
Alana is also one of those who have not found themselves and their place in the world. She is a photographer’s assistant, still living with her parents, and she has a catastrophic unlucky relationship. She is Jewish by origin (in the film this is often shown in an ironic and sarcastic context) and some of her views do not coincide with the views of those whom she chooses as a potential second half.
Alana does not take Gary seriously, rejects his friendship and courtship, chuckles at his stories, but agrees to the meeting, tormented by doubts immediately after it. She is constantly in search of herself, in search of someone more suitable for relationships (both in character and age), but the interest that arose between Gary and Alana does not disappear from the film for a second. Scenes that create an atmosphere of comedy or pathos are needed only to reveal each other’s characters from new sides, to let them feel each other even more and, finally, make a decision regarding possible relationships.
Constant throwing and searching for common sense in a world filled with comedy, completely devoid of the slightest hint of adequacy, Alana is drawn into the world of youth and fraud, so much so that she succumbs to the temptation to lose common sense again. She becomes not only Gary’s friend, but also his business partner. Alana communicates with her young acquaintance more and more often, spends time with his friends, learns to be free and carefree again, doing things that are absurd from the point of view of an adult. Either he advertises water beds in underwear, then he conducts sexual dialogues with customers, then he resignedly agrees to appear naked in films, passing an interview in screen tests, then he rides a truck without fuel. And all with Gary.
The characters are inexorably drawn to each other from the very first seconds of the film, but they have no idea how to solve the problem of the difference in age, views, position in life. This uncertainty stitches all the disparate scenes of the storyline together, presenting the characters with a clear question and problem to solve, but they have no idea how to do it so that everyone stays in an advantageous position and does not lose anything.
Surprisingly well in the film conveyed the atmosphere of the seventies of the last century. Some store names and goods characteristic of that time flicker in the frame – this allows you to better feel what is happening on the screen, organically fit the mentality of the characters in the era in which they were born.
Undoubtedly, Gary and Alana use each other to find themselves, their place in the world, to achieve what they both want, but their relationship is reduced to such only because they have not had time to understand and know themselves and their problems well. . They need reflection, thoughtful and consistent, they need time to make a decision, which they push away in every possible way, fooling around and plunging into youthful serenity and impunity.
Their paths diverge in order to meet again. Gary will open an entertainment center, Alana will become a politician. They will become conscious enough to be able to solve the problem that was posed to them at the very beginning – to be or not to be in a relationship. And they will decide what to be, because now they have studied each other quite well, and now neither age, nor social abyss, nor behavioral characteristics and views seem to be an obstacle to mutual happiness and love.
So it turns out that the main message of the film is to look at the root, to approach relationships consciously, with a willingness to work on yourself, together or separately, but still achieve the best version of yourself. It is never too late to change, to find yourself in this world, to get to your happiness, you just need to make an effort for this. And, as the world is old, so is the old postulate put forward in Licorice Pizza – love conquers all.