Lick The Star

A clique of school girls devise a secret plan that they code-name "Lick the Star".

Genre: Drama

Length: 13:49

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4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Andrew Durham, Chris Neil

Director/s : Sofia Coppola, 

Writer/s : Sofia Coppola, Stephanie Hayman

Actor/s : Christina Turley, Audrey Heaven


Arrested development?

Chloe is the school’s queen bee. She can get away with anything, she can bully, steal, wear black lipstick, and even smoke at home. Her gang’s code is “Lick the Star”, which is lick ass, which is what her cronies do. But it’s also more sinister. She has a plan to bring down some boys by gradually sneaking rat poison into their lunches. Lick the Star, said backwards, is Kill the Rats.

The narrator starts by telling us that in high school, things can change very quickly, and so it proves. A chance remark and Chinese whispers get Chloe branded as a racist, the school turns against her, her plan is exposed, she is outcast, and becomes suicidal. PC righteousness triumphs, but strangely, the students and the film seems to think the big issue is her racism, not that she was planning serial murders against them. Why no arrests?

Coppola focuses overmuch on the Kill the Rats storyline, and not enough the far more interesting moral tale of Chloe’s downfall. It would have been good to see more of her victims collectively liberating themselves, and more of her cronies, powerless to stop her slide, abandoning her.

The high school movie is an established sub-genre, the flagship of American culture’s fetishization of teenagers. It’s a show of psycho-social arrested development that other countries don’t exhibit. Lick the Star wasn’t Coppola’s last foray into this terrain: witness The Virgin Suicides, and The Bling Ring.

And it wasn’t the last time she would veer away from the big, more difficult, issue that her film touches on: witness The Beguiled, which whitewashed slavery out of the story rather than address it.

(The link is to a version with Spanish subtitles. A non-subtitled version is also on You Tube, but the image is poor.)