When we first saw footage of The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola’s upcoming film about privileged youth gone wild, it was in a teaser with a blaring Sleigh Bells track and Emma Watson dancing suggestively in slow motion—and not much else. Based on true events (which were previously the subject of a Lifetime Movie), the story centers on Watson and her fellow burglars, who gleefully robbed the homes of celebrities, among them Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Lindsay Lohan.
Comparisons have already been made to Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, another recent film about young women who unexpectedly take a turn for the larcenous. Now that we have at least a glimpse of Coppola’s approach to the subject matter, are such comparisons more than superficially apt? Probably not. There’s little or no violence in this story, for one thing—and, more importantly, Coppola’s satirical perspective on these kids seems much more evident. The Bling Ring looks likely to highlight just how vacuous and misguided these teens were. At one point, Watson, sounding delightfully Valley Girl-esque, whines to her cohorts, “Let’s go to Paris’s. I wanna rob.”
Near the end of the trailer, she says, “I’m a firm believer in karma. And I think this situation is a huge learning lesson for me, to grow and expand as a spiritual human being.” This near-exact—and ridiculous—quote was uttered by socialite Alexis Neiers, the real-life inspiration for Watson’s character. She said it a week before her arraignment, and here it serves almost as a punch line. (Neiers went on to say that she sees herself as Angelina Jolie, only “stronger.”)
It will be interesting to see whether Coppola avoids glamorizing the criminals. The trailer shows them partying, squealing over designer clothes, and ogling the famous people they steal from. Surely, there will be some teens and young adults who recognize themselves in these kids. But considering Coppola’s track record, I suspect The Bling Ring will have much more to say about wealth, celebrity, and our national obsession with both than Korine did.
The Bling Ring will be out in June.