‘Licorice Pizza’ first reactions arrive as Alana Haim gets huge praise for debut performance

Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film is out later this year in the US

The first reactions have arrived for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film Licorice Pizza, with the movie already attracting huge praise.

The upcoming film, which stars Alana Haim in her debut performance, is a coming-of-age drama set in the 1970s in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, focusing on Haim’s character Alana Kane and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman).

Going by those who have attended an early screening, the film may be another hit for Anderson, some calling it a “masterpiece” and “brilliant”.


Director William Kirkley tweeted: “I had high expectations going into Licorice Pizza and somehow it was even better than I could’ve hoped. Another masterpiece by PTA.”

Licorice Pizza trailer
‘Licorice Pizza’ trailer. CREDIT: Universal Pictures

JJ Abrams praised Haim and Hoffman, saying: “Truly incredible debut performances. There’s little better than going to a PTA movie. Be sure to see #LicoricePizza November 26!”

Film critic Ben Mankiewicz also praised Haim, writing: “The movie world needs to prepare itself for the overwhelming charm, likability, and humanity of Alana Haim in @licoricepizza.”

Riley Stearns called the film “utter magic and continually unexpected”, while BenDavid Grabinski labelled it “perfect”.

Check out their and more reactions below:


Actor John C Reilly also had huge praise for Haim, saying in a chat with the singer and actress for Interview Magazine: “When Paul sent me that first screen test, I was like, ‘Dude, if you can keep them feeling this free, I think you’ve got a movie.’

“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 her.’ He looked at me like, ‘Right?’

“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. How many times would you say you’ve fallen in love?”

As part of the same interview, Haim called her time on the film a “huge growing experience”, reflecting on not working with her sisters Este and Danielle.

“I really was alone while making this movie, and it was a huge growing experience,” she said. “My two older siblings have carried me through life, so it was jarring to be like, ‘Oh, they can’t get me out of this one.’

“I also couldn’t blame them for anything, or be like, ‘Danielle did it, not me.’ I had to show up on set every day, know what I was doing, and hold my own.”