Coming to theatres this Friday from director/writer Gia Coppola from short stories written by James Franco and Tribeca Films comes the town of PALO ALTO.
This film tells the story of April (Emma Roberts) a young woman in high school who is struggling with her life and sexuality. She has a crush on Teddy (Jack Kilmer), but these two never say what needs to be said every time they meet.
April is a little hurt when Emily (Zoe Levin) gets a little to close to Teddy but even closer to Fred (Nat Wolff) because he is the bad boy of the bunch. Living dangerously, April flirts with her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco) believing it’s harmless, so much so she babysits for him on occasion.
But the time is drawing close when April must say what needs to be said and know the difference between right and wrong.
FINAL WORD: Roberts as April does a good job playing the young and relatively demure girl. Trying to figure out where she fits at home and at school is something many people can relate to, or at least remember. Smoking, drinking and partying is something she seems to do just to pass the time. Her shyness seems to only be towards Teddy as she rides the line with Coach B.
Kilmer as Teddy is sweet, insecure, and who would be surprised to know he is son of Val Kilmer so the apple doesn’t fall far. I found this character just so lovely to watch which means this young actor steals a big chunk of the film.
Levin as Emily plays such a wounded bird, perhaps more so than April or Teddy. Having such low self esteem, she sees having sex as her only way to find love. Her choice from the beginning may have seemed exciting to her but you can’t argue with a young man who is equally as wounded.
Wolff as Fred is definitely a young man who is screaming for help. Constantly putting himself in harms way, Fred pretends not to care about anything, which means he cares about everything. Wolff brings that realization to the forefront but Teddy is the only one paying attention.
Franco as Coach B. disturbed me and for several reasons. I would hate to think that girls in high school don’t have enough problems without a teacher with unresolved high school rejection issues of his own. Those scenes to me were disturbing and although that may have been the point, I didn’t need to see it.
Other cast includes: Olivia Crocicchia as Chrissy, Bailey Coppola as Seth, Brenden Taylor as Luke, Colleen Camp as Sally Grossman, Claudia Levy as Shauna, Jacqui Getty as Jane, Andrew Lutheran and Ivan, Bo Mitchell as Jack O, and Val Kilmer as Stewart.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give PALO ALTO three tubs of popcorn out of five. This film has the five degrees of separation built in from the director on down. Gia Coppola’s aunt is, of course, Sofia Coppola; Jack Kilmer is son of Val Kilmer; Emma Roberts’s aunt is Julia Roberts; and the film is based on short stories by James Franco.
The film follows well the life of four teens filled with angst, love, insecurity, trust, rejection, peer relationships and any other issue you can remember from high school. Without special effects the film really does allow the viewer to get an inside look without distraction into their lives.
In the end – a lot can happen when you are trying to find yourself in Palo Alto!