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Lick the Star

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Lick the Star is a 1998 short film that highlights the ingenuity and brilliance of director Sofia Coppola's early filmmaking instincts. Starring Christina Turley, Audrey Kelly, and Julia Vanderham, this 14-minute black-and-white feature is a provocative examination of teenage angst, adolescent drama, and the politics of popularity that often dominates high school ecosystems.

Set in a suburban California middle school, the storyline is marked by the everyday challenges that teenagers face. Instead of typical glamour or idealization, the film dives headfirst into the nitty-gritty, lesser-seen dynamics of middle school society.

Christina Turley portrays Chloe, a nonchalantly cool seventh-grader who recently suffered a leg injury. Ostracized from the popular girls' group due to her physical ailment, Chloe finds herself navigating the sordid realms of school gossip, social isolation, and treachery that comes from volatile friendships turned sour. The film meticulously portrays Chloe's journey as she tries to carve out her own comfortable space in this miniature society that is as intimidating as the real world.

Audrey Kelly portrays Rebecca, the unofficial leader of the popular girls' group. Rebecca's subtly menacing girl-next-door charm hides the manipulative nature characteristic of the students thriving on the top rung of the school's social ladder. Kelly's splendid performance makes Rebecca a compelling character, who you would love to hate and hate to love.

Julia Vanderham delivers a noteworthy performance as Nadine, one of the 'popular girls' who displays a mixture of innocence and the conditioned mean-spiritedness rampant in her clique. Her character, despite being part of the inner circle, is surprisingly humane and relatable.

The movie's title, Lick the Star, is revealed to be a cryptic mission strategy devised by the group of popular girls. This cryptic code becomes a fascinating sub-plot, interweaving the intricate powerplays, betrayals, and rebalancing of loyalties unfolding among the middle schoolers.

Sofia Coppola's aesthetic shone through in the film's black-and-white treatment. The grainy, monochrome visuals invoke an air of nostalgia, imparting an authentic and gritty feel to the narrative. The decision to keep the film in black and white allows the viewers to focus on the depth of characters and the complexities of the plot, rather than getting distracted by the flamboyance of colors. Moreover, it symbolizes the clear binaries the young characters have in their world: popular vs. unpopular, good vs. evil, strong vs. weak. The black and white aesthetic thus not only accentuates the visuals but also supports the underlining narrative themes.

Cinematographer Lance Accord deserves special mention for capturing the raw emotions of the young actors, every frame meticulously constructed to offer audiences a peek into the mind of an average middle school teenager. The camera work is unobtrusive, offering a fly-on-the-wall perspective that follows the characters in their natural habitat.

The soundtrack of Lick the Star consists of French pop rock and bands like Free Kitten and The Amps which give the film a quirky, whimsical feel, adding a new layer to the onscreen narrative.

In conclusion, Lick the Star is an interesting exploration of school-age drama told from the female perspective. It distinctly captures the struggle of adolescence, peer pressure, school gossip, and adolescent politics that we all probably encountered at some point. This short film is very illustrative of Coppola's later works, hinting at themes we see in her future films like The Virgin Suicides and Lost In Translation. It's a must-watch for fans of Coppola and those looking for an unusual, distinct narrative.

Lick the Star is a Drama movie released in 1998. It has a runtime of 14 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.0..

How to Watch Lick the Star

Where can I stream Lick the Star movie online? Lick the Star is available to watch and stream at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels.

Sofia Coppola
Christina Turley, Audrey Kelly, Julia Vanderham
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