The movies that inspired Charli XCX’s brat album – and where to watch ’em

Pop icon Charli XCX will share some of the cinematic influences behind internet-dominating new album brat with upcoming film screenings. If you’re not in New York (nice work if you are), Steve Newall has you covered.

Charli XCX’s superb sixth album brat released last week. If you (inexplicably) haven’t heard it yet, you’re bound to have seen its distinctive green cover and blurred text (or one of the countless memes it’s inspired). The tidal wave of social media enthusiasm is likely building towards the pop star’s best chart placings. “I used to never think about Billboard,” she declares on brat track Rewind: “But, now, I’ve started thinking again / Wondering ’bout whether I think I deserve commercial success”.

She does. And she’s about to get it.

Critical success too, with brat’s Metacritic score ranking it the highest-rated album of 2024—and the 16th-highest-rated album of all time.

But this is a movie and streaming site so why am I writing this? That’s because, earlier this week, Charli XCX shared to her private Instagram followers (shout out to anyone else on 360_brat) that a collection of cinematic influences for the brat album would be screening at New York’s Roxy Cinema.

As she explains on the Roxy Cinema website, “Film inspires world building and that’s so crucial for me and my work to provide a depth to each of the songs.”

What is “brat”? Charli told The Guardian: Right now, there’s this alchemy where I’ve somehow been drawn to making a club record – which feels intrinsically who I am – coupled with this new lyrical style. It’s very much like texts I would send to friends. I wasn’t worried about rhyme, or the traditional things; it’s really just about capturing a feeling of chaos and saying the most blunt thing that is at the top of my brain.”

That’s what Charli is tapping into with the films in the brat collection. The Roxy Cinema asks, why these ones?

“Well they all have a brat like energy to them. I’m not really inspired by other music when I make my albums. I’m more inspired by an atmosphere or a feeling or a persona. To me character and personality is the backbone to good music and artistry. If there’s no persona there’s just a song. It’s 2 dimensional, it’s flat. So all of these films in some way link to the world of brat. Whether it’s Suzanne Stone’s extreme desire for attention in To Die For or the story of rivalry and lust between musicians in The Velvet Goldmine, the Marie’s in Daisies brat coded behavior or the biggest most ridiculous party of all time in Project X there are things in there that directly link to the energy of brat.”

Charli XCX presents The brat collection – a series of films that inspired brat. June 10 through July 3 at Roxy Cinema NYC. We’re going to revisit these through a new lens in between repeat listens of brat. Check out Charli XCX’s cinema selections and where to watch them:

Party Monster

Macaulay Culkin stars alongside the likes of Seth Green, Natasha Lyonne and Chloë Sevigny (featured in the music video for Charli XCX’s 360) in this chronicle of the late ’80s/early ’90s Club Kids of New York City. Based on the true story of Michael Alig, the biographical crime drama follows a party organiser whose life was sent spiraling down when he bragged on television about killing his drug dealer and roommate.

Daisies

1966 Czechoslovak New Wave classic sees two teenage girls embark on a series of destructive pranks in which they consume and destroy the world around them—ripping off older men, feasting on lavish meals and getting up to all kinds of mischief. But to what end?

To Die For

Nicole Kidman stars in Gus Van Sant’s satirical 1995 classic, willing to go to dangerous lengths to achieve her goal of being a big television personality. Dreaming of being a news anchor, weather reporter Suzanne Stone feels held back by her husband (Matt Dillon), so approaches two young men (Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck) to bump him off.

Party Girl

The iconic Parker Posey stars as the irresponsible party girl of the title. Getting into trouble one too many times, Mary is bailed out of jail by her librarian godmother—and in turn, tries to turn her life around by taking an unlikely job at the library herself.

Project X

Three unpopular high schoolers attempt to boost their popularity status with the mother of all parties in this comedy from producer Todd Phillips (The Hangover). Their suburban house party gets wildly out of control (while being filmed handycam-style) as word spreads…

Velvet Goldmine

Riffing on the likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Bryan Ferry, director Todd Haynes (Carol) dives into the heady world of 1970s glam rock. Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette and Christian Bale star in this rock music drama, which also considers the cross-pollination of British and American music scenes. And lots of hedonism.

A Cross the Universe

Doco by frequent Justice collaborator Romain Gavras follows the French electronic duo as they tour North America in 2008. Their musical palette (and that of their Ed Banger labelmates) was a big influence on the sound of brat.