Palo Alto

"Excellent"

Palo Alto Review


James Franco's collection of autobiographical short stories is adapted into a remarkably evocative film by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Francis. And the film's next-generation credentials don't end there. It stars Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric) and Jack Kilmer (son of Val), superb young actors who bring their characters to vivid life even as multiple story strands weave around them. And what makes the film important is its willingness to present teens authentically, often in ways parents probably wish they didn't know about.

It's set in suburban Northern California, where high school teen April (Roberts) worries that she's the last virgin in her class. She's secretly in love with Teddy (Kilmer), and he likes her too, but everyone thinks he's having a fling with the class slut (Zoe Levin). So while babysitting one night for her soccer coach (Franco), she is both startled and thrilled when he makes a move on her. Meanwhile, Teddy's best pal Fred (Nat Wolff) is causing chaos everywhere he goes, as the school's teens go from party to party indulging in alcohol and drugs, testing the boundaries of authority. And their parents seem fairly oblivious to all of this.

Coppola shoots and edits the film in a way that's deeply personal, focussing on the inner lives of the characters rather than the gyrations of the various plot strands. This gives the film a surprisingly cohesive tone, linking everything together into a single tale of young people trying to work out a path to adulthood in a society full of mixed messages. And things rarely go as expected. For example, Teddy is sure he'll go to prison when he crashes his car while driving stoned, but he is given a second chance. And he discovers that doing community service is actually rather enjoyable.

Each of the actors creates a teen who is far more realistic than the usual movie stereotypes, finding that delicate balance between childish humour and darker feelings. These adolescents are fascinated by things they can't understand, such as inebriation and sex, and they're not afraid to break the rules. But none of this makes them bad kids, and for most of them these antics will actually make them stronger adults as a result. This is something most Hollywood films are afraid to admit, but it's something that definitely needs to be said. And this new Coppola has proven herself as a young talent to keep an eye on.

 

 



Palo Alto

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th May 2014

Box Office USA: $0.8M

Distributed by: Tribeca Film

Production compaines: Tribeca Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 82 Rotten: 31

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Vince Jolivette, Miles Levy, Sebastian Pardo, Adriana Rotaru

Starring: as April, as Mr. B, as Stewart, as Sally, as Teddy, Keegan Allen as Archie, as Fred, as Chrissy, as Anthony, as Emily, as Mr. Wilson, as Mrs. Ganem, Claudia Levy as Shauna, Jacqui Getty as Jane, Andrew Lutheran as Ivan, Bo Mitchell as Jack O, Bailey Coppola as Seth, Brennen Taylor as Luke, Atlanta Decadenet as Girl at Party, Anna Thea Bogdanovich as Sally's Friend, Micah Nelson as Michael, Timothy Starks as Police Officer, Emma Gretzky as Emma, as Sherry, Genevieve Penn as Court Clerk Woman, Jesse Jo Stark as Pam, Jake Nordwin as Art Student #1, Jamal Hammadi as Art Student #2, as Jake, Laney Fichera as Judy, Greta Seacat as Janice, as Mitch, Nathalie Love as Joy, Sandra Seacat as Tanya, Jessica Elle Taylor as Brittney, Janet Song as Mrs. Stevenson, Janet Salter as Elderly Woman, as Raquel, Amelia Burstyn as Mary, Grear Patterson as College Boy #1, Nick Stewart as College Boy #2

Also starring:

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