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Palo Alto

  R HD Closed Captioning

Gia Coppola

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Plot Summary

Shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts) is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco) and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer). Emily (Zoe Levin), meanwhile, offers sexual favors to every boy to cross her path — including both Teddy and his best friend Fred (Nat Wolff), a live wire without filters or boundaries. As one high school party bleeds into the next — and April and Teddy struggle to admit their mutual affection — Fred's escalating recklessness starts to spiral into chaos. An unflinching portrait of adolescent lust, boredom, and self-destruction, Palo Alto is a teen movie for the ages — an astonishing debut feature from writer-director Gia Coppola, based on the book “Palo Alto: Stories” by James Franco and featuring new music from Devonté Hynes (Blood Orange).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

73%
  • Reviews Counted: 113
  • Fresh: 82
  • Rotten: 31
  • Average Rating: 6.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: "Palo Alto" feels earnest and promising, but half-formed. – Rafer Guzman, Newsday, May 22, 2014

Fresh: That Coppola finds occasional grace and spirit here shows understanding and compassion. Her next assignment? Make a movie that's not about the troubles of the privileged and bored. – Tom Long, Detroit News, May 23, 2014

Fresh: It's accurate to say that "Palo Alto" is another movie by another Coppola about the lives of the rich, bored and disaffected, but that description sells the movie short. – Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, May 29, 2014

Fresh: These slippery slices of life feel like the most honest, relevant film portrait of adolescence in ages. – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 22, 2014

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Aww...

I thought it was going to be about Steve Jobs lol.

A realistic, smart, strong, subtle drama.

I am now convinced that the Coppolas' talents are genetic. I have the most appreciation for films that find the odd beauty in sad and/or ordinary things, and like Sofia, Gia Coppola proves that she can do that super well. This movie is engaging the entire time thanks to how realistic it is, and the performances are great from everyone. I've always liked Emma Roberts but she definitely proves her own talent here, and everyone else - specifically Nat Wolff and Jack Kilmer - is solid as well. My favorite thing about this is probably its realism, which is so well executed. The kids are perfectly nuanced and their experiences and daily lives are so well realized, and that's where the direction comes into discussion. This seems super influenced by Harmony Korine's downbeat tone, specifically the film Kids, which he wrote. The structure is a lot like Kids and it works super well, and the style seems to be like Harmony Korine crossed with Sofia Coppola. Either way, the tone and feel of the movie is terrific and suits the material and performances perfectly. The characters are surprisingly well defined in their subtly, and combined with the acting, even the most despicable characters are given a range of sympathetic depth. The film is shot well and the music is good, but it feels like all of this falls under the direction. Gia Coppola is definitely one to watch out for, and it seems that she'll have a great career. 9/10, terrific, two thumbs up, far above average, etc.

- A GREAT DEBUT -

Palo Alto is a well-acted, truthful portrayal of modern adolescents navigating through continuous cycles of manipulation, intoxication and unguided self awareness that some have come to categorize as the standard for today’s young adults. Despite a few brief moments of flatness, this film ultimately resonates strongly on the mind.

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