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Twenty-five-year-old Alana (Alana Haim, of the band Haim) is drawn into the orbit of fifteen-year-old Gary (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman), when they meet at his high school where she works as an assistant photographer taking pictures for the yearbook. She is equal parts amused and frustrated when the entrepreneurial teen, who juggles a side-line as a child actor with his company selling waterbeds, starts hitting on her. Richly evocative of its setting in Southern California in 1973, Anderson’s laidback, Altman-esque love story cum coming-of-age film is his warmest yet. Anderson leaves ample space for digression, his winding narrative encompassing several delightfully eccentric vignettes – Bradley Cooper essays an intense version of celebrity hairdresser Jon Peters; Sean Penn and Tom Waits stage a late-night motorcycle race on a golf course – whilst never losing sight of the relationship at the core of his mellow, sun-kissed ode to puppy love.
Notes by David O Mahony