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Emma Watson
Taissa Farmiga
Leslie Mann
Gavin Rossdale
Nina Siemaszk
Katie Chang
Israel Broussard
Georgia Rock.
Sofia Coppola.
Sofia Coppola.
Running Time
90 minutes

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The Bling Ring
The devils stole Prada

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A gaggle of spoiled high-schoolers begin a crime spree using social media and celebrity websites to target the houses of Los Angeles’ glitterati. With a flagrant disregard for anonymity — they don’t don disguises, they boast to their friends — how long will it be before they get caught? Answer: like, duh? The based-on-truth story of a group of California girls who robbed celebrities houses and lived large with their ill-gotten gains.

The Bling Ring

Super-irch kids with nothing but fake friends,” sings Frank Ocean at the end of The Bling Ring. Rarely has a closing credits tune been more apt. Sofia Coppola’s paean to celebrity worship, Facebook stalking and calling your BFFs “bitches” may continue the obsession laid out in her previous flicks — little girls lost in the trappings of privilege — but this feels different from The Virgin Suicides, Lost In Translation or Marie Antoinette. This is Coppola on breezier form, still occasionally poetic and dreamlike but, hopped up on hip hop, a little lighter, more spirited Sofia. As such, it may be her most commercial film to date.

The Bling Ring started life as a 2010 Vanity Fair article, The Suspects Wore Louboutins, detailing the crime spree of a gang of high-school kids, fuelled by boredom, technology and a desire to be in their own E! special, who stole north of $3 million-worth of cash, designer duds and trinkets belonging to the A to D list. Coppola paints these JDs in quick, telling strokes. Wannabe fashionista Rebecca (Katie Chang) wants to go to the fashion school “where all the Hills girls went”. Diffident new kid Marc (Israel Broussard) wants his own lifestyle brand. Nicki (Emma Watson), along with sister Emily (Georgia Rock) and homegirl Sam (Taissa Farmiga) are home-schooled by a New-Age mom (Leslie Mann) in lessons straight from the self-help bestseller The Secret. These kids are living in a land where Prada and Lohan are the new gods, and soon decide to take the keys to the kingdom.

After ringleader Rebecca and Marc get the thrill of theft by robbing a holidaying classmate, The Bling Ring turns from 90210 into a high-end heist movie as celebs such as Paris Hilton (who cameos and isn’t afraid to send up her persona — she is so dimwitted she leaves a key under the mat), Orlando Bloom and Megan Fox become the victims of these mean girls. Here Coppola gets to show her filmmaking chops, each robbery getting a distinct look: the burglary of Bloom is presented as rapidly edited surveillance footage; the ransacking of reality star Audrina Patridge’s home is captured in a single, elegant wide shot. Coppola’s attitude towards her antiheroes vacillates between antihero worship and sly satire (especially after they get caught). The film has a fluid morality, and
is all the more interesting for it.

In most modern crime flicks the accomplices are portrayed by the likes of Anthony Mackie, Dave Franco and Jay Baruchel. Here they’re played by Google Earth, Facebook and TMZ, as the media-literate, tech-savvy Clearasil crims plan their robberies online. Previous Coppola films have seen their heroines trapped by the prisons of suburbia, marriage or French court politics. Here the internet sets the characters free. Few films have captured lives lived on laptops so acutely. It would make a great double bill with The Social Network.

Coppola has long been an excellent chronicler of youth and in particular the ebb and flow of female friendships, and she draws great performances from her young cast. Building on The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Watson offers a pitch-perfect delivery of Valley-speak and self-delusion. Chang also stands out as the gang’s full-on ringleader.

The film is dedicated to Coppola’s longtime cinematographer, Harris Savides, who died during the shoot (Christopher Blauvelt wrapped up), and, aptly for a film concerned with surface and show, it looks intoxicating. This film might not have the durability of Lost In Translation or deliver anything approaching social critique. But it does, for better or worse, capture something about kids today. At one point the gang, decked out in stolen clobber, walk down the street in slow motion to Kanye West’s Power — a kind of Reservoir Airheads. As a lucid snapshot of yoot in the early 21st century, it’s hard to beat.

Girls meets Ocean’s Eleven, The Bling Ring might be a film for right now rather than the ages, but Sofia Coppola’s heist movie is visually arresting, well acted, capricious fun.

Reviewed by Ian Freer

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Bling Ring
Empire Star Rating

Little sympathy for attention seeking kids.

Read my full review on! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TroyPutland at 11:55, 10 July 2014 | Report This Post

Stylish, slick, well acted and a perfect reflection of celebrity culture. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 12:34, 11 November 2013 | Report This Post

Oh dear.....

I hate to repeat myself as I seem to have done with some many films recently but this is just another classic case of style over substance. As its based on a real life events you cant really blame Coppola for the ridiculously dull story line but thinking you can get away with a cool soundtrack and a few decent camera shots just doest cut it. All the characters are very hatable and as for the film itself its just boring as fu*k! Avoid might be a bit harsh but this really will only appeal to handf... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 23:49, 29 October 2013 | Report This Post


A beautifully shot, lurid, and often funny look at celeb life. Watson is great, and Broussard stands out. This is Coppola's best film since LiT and one of the best films of the year. I hope this gets nominated for Best Picture. It probably won't. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 12:45, 23 September 2013 | Report This Post

The Bling Ring

I consider it to be better, and more focused, than Harmony Korine's messy-but-funny Spring Breakers. I think this was sexier, classier and visually stunning, specially the club scenes. Emma Watson is fantastic, too. And, I believe that, Somewhere was good and very intimate and all, but The Bling Ring is kind of a throwback to what Coppola did in Marie Antoinette, rather than the delicacy of Lost in Translation or the seductiveness of The Virgin Suicides. Yes, I think it's really good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 04:15, 07 August 2013 | Report This Post

Really enjoyed it

This is a film that's obviously going to illicit a lot of negative reaction as the thematically similar Spring Breakers (which I loved). This isn't as well made as that but it's still an enjoyable black satire with a couple of standout performances from Leslie Mann and Emma Watson. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:19, 19 July 2013 | Report This Post


the slowest, dullest and longest 90 minutes i've spent in the cinema this year. and i've seen a lot of films thus far in 2013 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 21:54, 15 July 2013 | Report This Post

RE: Wonderfully....

After her first two features as a film-maker, one would have thought Sofia Coppola would have kicked on with her craft, yet a decade on from Translationnitial talent for being behind the camera seems to be in a state of regression – seemingly forever confined to the perils of the privileged. With her weakest effort to date, her fascination with the rich and famous continues, but this time the focus is from on the outside looking in (a dramatised look at the true story regarding the teena... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 22:37, 04 July 2013 | Report This Post


Wonderfully.... terrible. Boring, repetitive and dull. Is this supposed to be a satire on the shallow 90210 crowd? Or is it supposed to be a celebration of it? Girls meets Ocean's Eleven?! Are you kidding me?! Ocean's Eleven maybe flawed, but at least it was mildly entertaining, and it had characters that were fun. The only saving grace of this disaster of a film is Leslie Mann, who was so terrible that she was hilarious. Watson is bland and infuriating, she's trying too hard to shed the H... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spaceodds at 10:03, 03 July 2013 | Report This Post

The Bling Ring

Empty, soulless, ugly and boring maybe that's the point) Emma Watson is good value though and there is one very well staged sequence involving a robbery done in a single take which is enough to give it an extra star 2/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Scruffybobby at 06:48, 03 July 2013 | Report This Post

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