Cannes Film Festival: Emma Watson revels in post-"Potter" freedom

From left, actors Katie Chang, Taissa Fariga, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien and Emma Watson attend "The Bling Ring" photo call during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festival on May 16, 2013, in Cannes, France.
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Emma Watson is reveling in her post-"Harry Potter" freedom at the Cannes Film Festival.

The actress, 23, stars in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," which premiered Thursday at the annual festival on the French Riviera. Watson plays a celebrity-obsessed Los Angeles teenager who, with a group of friends, burgles Hollywood stars.

With a thick Valley Girl accent, it's a character far from the wise-beyond-her-years Hermione of the "Harry Potter" films.

At Cannes, Watson told reporters that while she remains proud of her work on the "Potter" films, they now feel long ago. She said she's currently "re-enjoying" transforming into new roles. Making "The Bling Ring," she said, was much easier since she's used to reciting lines "people know by heart."

Critics have already begun weighing in on the film. Here are some of them:

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "Shot in a gliding, gently intoxicating style that lightly suggests that this "based on actual events" story could be taking place in a dream (or, more to the point, an altered state), this is a too-cool-for-school portrait of spoiled kids achieving dubious but welcome fame for robbing the homes of young Hollywood celebrities. As such, it will attain a certain stature itself as a cultural artifact but without stirring significant interest artistically or commercially."

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph: "Coppola and her young cast make the gang's actions creepily plausible: If celebrities are the new gods, these youngsters are storming the Holy of Holies and making off with the curtain. Emma Watson is a stand-out: she delivers her character's blasé whines of entitlement like a musician coaxing a keening lament from an oboe, and her drained interactions with her dopey mother, played by Leslie Mann, are a joy."

Scott Foundas, Variety: "Always adept at directing young performers, Coppola encourages fine work here from her cast of mostly newcomers, with Watson taking special relish in shedding her goody-two-shoes "Harry Potter" persona. [Israel] Broussard also makes a strong impression as the wallflower with a yen for fuchsia stilettos."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "There is something in [Coppola's] unjudging approach that is unexpectedly appropriate -- and effective. It lets her get up close and personal to the story and characters, which conventional irony (from a director likeLarry Clark or a writer like Bret Easton Ellis) wouldn't get near. And it lets you experience the creepiness for yourself, helped by the cool, clear "reportage" cinematography of the late Harris Savides, in his final movie.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: "The acting is so authentic that it takes a while to differentiate the girls, and that's part of the film's texture, too -- its unsensational look at sensational (if trivial) crimes. Katie Chang gives Rebecca a coolly synthetic sensual glow, and Emma Watson, playing Nicki, a real mean girl, does a remarkable job of demonstrating that glassy-eyed insensitivity doesn't have to be stupid."

"The Bling Ring" arrives in U.S. theaters on June 14.