It may not be set during the reign of Louis XVI, but Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks is as steeped in opulence as any movie she’s made since Marie Antoinette. Whether it’s a reaction against the wartime austerity of The Beguiled or simply a product of the fact that after 20-plus years making movies she’s done fending off accusations of privilege, On the Rocks, which mostly follows novelist Laura (Rashida Jones) and her art-dealer dad Felix (Bill Murray) around the tonier corners of Manhattan, seems to pack every frame with artifacts of contemporary urban extravagance, sometimes so many at a time it can be difficult to take them all in. So we’ve highlighted some of the most pronounced, most bougiest signifiers for your delectation and/or condemnation.
The Chanel Purse and Strand Tote Bag Combo
Nothing defines Laura, a child of privilege intent on communicating her literary bona fides, more succinctly than the odd-sock pairing of a vintage Chanel purse with a bag from Manhattan’s legendary Strand Bookstore. Assuming it wasn’t handed down by her mother, the classically styled Chanel handbag would run almost $6,000, while the Strand tote can be had for under $30. It’s a duo that says “I can spring for couture when I want to, but I’m not above browsing the used books.”
Books, Books, and More Books
The SoHo apartment Laura shares with her husband (Marlon Wayans) and their two kids is tastefully stuffed with literary artifacts. A tote from Shakespeare and Company hangs on the chair in Laura’s workspace, and there’s one from Brooklyn’s Greenlight Books on a peg by the door—the sole indication in the movie that any of its characters have left the island of Manhattan. (The door also boasts bumper stickers supporting Bernie Sanders and Stacey Abrams.) Determined to raise her kids on the classics, Laura reads to them from Margery Sharp’s The Rescuers—not just any edition, but a top-shelf reprint from the New York Review of Books.* The workspace where Laura is—unsuccessfully as of yet—working on her new novel is of course filled with carefully selected books. As she talks to her dad on the phone, you can see copies of, among many others, Lauren Groff’s National Book Award finalist Florida, two Library of America volumes, a couple of titles by Octavia Butler, and Adrian Piper: A Reader, published to accompany the conceptual artist’s 2018 show at the Museum of Modern Art. There’s also a copy of the NYRB itself and several issues of the Paris Review, whose logo also adorns a T-shirt Laura wears elsewhere in the film. The copy of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now seems a little off-brand, especially right next to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In—which might be why Pinker’s bare-spined hardcover has had its jacket removed—but given that Laura is trying to jump-start a literary thriller, it makes sense that she’s got, sitting behind her MacBook Air, a copy of Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, splayed open as if she’s frequently turning to it for reference. And of course, no published author’s shelves would be complete without the ultimate flex: a stack of her own books, along with a mocked-up cover for the Italian translation.
Like a lot of parents who are rapidly approaching 40, Laura stockpiles proof that she was cool once. Although she’s too style-conscious to actually leave the house in a T-shirt, she lounges around the house in vintage tees for Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys (Check Your Head era, of course) and dozes off in one for the Los Angeles record store Delicious Vinyl.
The character played by Jenny Slate, a parent at the school Laura’s daughters attend, favors sweats, but not the kind you’d actually work out in. In one scene, she sports a Rodarte “Radarte” sweatshirt, which cost $250 before the limited edition sold out, and in another, she’s wearing a bright-pink hoodie emblazoned with crossed palm trees, a collaboration between the dairy-free latte boutique Cha Cha Matcha and Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh. (She really loves those lattes. In another scene, she’s drinking from a cup with the same logo.)
Common Projects Sneakers
Like Jenny Slate’s Radarte sweatshirt, the white sneakers Wayans’ startup guy wears to a work party are also deceptively simple. According to an eagle-eyed Slate editor, those are Common Projects kicks, likely the Achilles Leather Low-Top. A mere $425!
Karen wheels her youngest around the streets of lower Manhattan in a Maclaren stroller, which any urban parent will recognize as a ubiquitous status symbol. And of course when she pulls up to the school, she parks it alongside two others.
A Cartier Watch
I’ll tiptoe around this one so as to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that a watch from the famed, and famously pricey, jeweler plays a key role in the plot. It’s what you give when you care enough to give the very best—and have several thousand dollars just kicking around your bank account.
Russ & Daughters Caviar
What does the discerning dad pack when he’s taking his daughter to stake out her possibly philandering husband? How about a couple of tins of caviar and a bottle of Krug champagne?Depending on your palate and your appetite, the smallest portions can go for as little as $60, but Felix seems more inclined to Osetra than paddlefish. He’s a little mournful that “there’s no more Beluga,” but the American stuff tastes just fine.
A SoHo Apartment
The floor-to-ceiling view from Laura’s office leaves no doubt that she lives in SoHo, and a shot in the doorway places her exact address as 81 Wooster Street, where a second-story pad would be a steal at $6.1 million. Let’s hope that novel sold well.
When she’s banging out her novel, Jessica kicks back in a $350 cantilever armchair designed by Mart Stam. (Slate’s informal panel initially pegged it as a Marcel Breuer, but an architect friend begs to differ.) Not bad, although it’s nothing compared with the Cogolin rug Laura’s grandmother announces she’s just purchased—an outlay that makes Laura’s sister’s mouth drop wide-open.
A Private Monet
While they’re at a party, Felix and Laura slip off to take in what might be the ultimate status symbol: a privately owned canvas by one of the most famous painters in history. According to the credits, the movie had to make do with a reproduction of a 1908 Water Lilies (estimated value: a few dozen million), but it’s also credited to an unnamed private collection, which means the real thing might well be hanging in its own room in someone’s fabulously expensive apartment, just waiting for the most privileged of guests to take it in.
On her own, Laura tends to stick to her neighborhood—the ballet studio at 51 Walker Street where she takes her daughter is only a 10-minute walk away—but her dad favors old-school haunts like the 21 Club and Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. The Sentinel, the restaurant where Felix takes her to lunch and flirts with a Russian waitress, is fictional, although its wood-paneled walls evoke exclusive “gentlemen’s clubs” like the Knickerbocker Club, which Felix name-drops later, and the Links. But no matter how far they travel, whether in Felix’s chauffeured car or his sputtering Alfa Romeo, they never cross a single bridge; a shot of Felix driving by the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel underlines the fact that he has no need to enter it, and when a driver honks at him for cutting them off in traffic, Felix derisively yells back “Jersey!” In an era when Manhattan is increasingly a playground for the rich, nearly every filmmaker this side of Woody Allen has abandoned it for the outer boroughs. A movie whose characters seem to regard Williamsburg as a literal bridge too far is one that’s exceptionably comfortable with their income bracket.
Correction, Oct. 23, 2020: This piece originally misspelled Margery Sharp’s first and last name.
Special thanks to Slate’s Christina Cauterucci, Chau Tu, and Jared Hohlt for status symbol spotting.