The Bling Ring

I think the moral of this whole very true, very real story is: Never have children, but if you do, never raise them in Los Angeles.

Seriously. The lasting impression I had, and have, is that kids are awful and they steal things and they have no moral compass. It’s awful.

Sofia Coppola adapted the screenplay for and directed this thing, and it was a lot more insightful and interesting than I expected. Which is to say, I didn’t expect much because I had absolutely no idea what “The Bling Ring” as a scandal was. Must’ve missed it on, uh, Gawker, or whatever, when it came out. So the fact that this movie was about a bunch of rich dingbat teenagers walking into rich people’s homes and treating them like decadent playgrounds came as a bit of a shock.

You know what else shocked me? The fact that a movie could elicit feelings of sympathy in me towards the likes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson, and Audrina Patridge. These rich folks, among others, were the victims of this pet-named Bling Ring, and they come out the heroes. Hilton, actually, comes out completely on top, because she let parts of the movie be filmed in her house. Girl loves publicity, we know, but that’s pretty cool of her considering how much of a breach of privacy she had already experienced.

Anyway, jumping off the soapbox and donning my critic’s cap for a moment, I have a hard time pinning down what I thought of the acting. Each of the girls had this vapid, boring, commercialized emptiness about them that cast this “bad acting” shadow over the whole movie. But upon further (unnecessary) contemplation, I realized that their shallow, soulless existences were the point of the whole movie. Emma Watson’s horrid, deliberate LA accent was not the fault of her UK upbringing; it may have been intentional! Katie Chang’s expressionless face was not her talentlessness shining through; I think she meant to do it! And so on and so forth. I reiterate, children are terrible. I don’t even want to watch the reality shows that girls on whom this story were based star in. (Apologies for all those poorly-ordered relative clauses.)

I want to give legitimate, non-hesitant props to Israel Broussard, who stood out as the most sincere of the bunch. Perhaps it was because he was the only boy, or because he was the only one with a conscience, but I found him the only relatable character. I don’t know if the real dude was the same way, the ambiguously gay, dependable BFF to a pack of selfish tweens, but he sure came across as a saint. He showed genuine remorse and understood the ramifications of what he and his friends did, while the rest of them wallowed in this incredibly sad state of self-denial. And, as my friends and I discussed after seeing the movie, I appreciated that his sexuality wasn’t thrown in the audience’s face. There was a brief mention of the fact that he was gay, and admittedly he did enjoy stealing clothes, but it wasn’t ever overt or stereotypical. He was just a dude.

I recommend seeing this movie, or at least reading up on the scandal, to get some scary insight into the world of today’s youth. I realize the silliness of that statement, as I’m not incredibly far in age from the guilty parties in the movie, but oh, what a difference a few years makes. I went to college the year facebook became available to all colleges, so I never went through high school peer-pressured sharing everything about myself online, thank goodness. I never felt obligated to e-show-off. These kids did, surrounded by decadence, and look what happened. They got convicted, and then they got a movie made about them.