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Palo Alto


Palo Alto weaves together three stories of teenage lust, boredom, and self-destruction: shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts), torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach (James Franco) and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer); Emily (Zoe Levin), who offers sexual favors to any boy to cross her path; and the increasingly dangerous exploits of Teddy and his best friend Fred (Nat Wolff), whose behavior may or may not be sociopathic.

Actors: Zoe Levin , Christian Madsen , Olivia Crocicchia , Nat Wolff , Keegan Allen , Jack Kilmer , Colleen Camp , Val Kilmer , James Franco , Emma Roberts
Directors: Gia Coppola
Country: USA
Release: 2014-05-09
More Info:
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The movie perfectly captures the vibe of late high school, in a way that's both of its time and timeless.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    Palo Alto is the sort of debut picture that makes me eager to see how Gia Coppola is going to grow and change as an artist, but it's more than just a demonstration of potential.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    What tethers the movie and especially April and Teddy is how Ms. Coppola captures that exquisitely tender, moving moment between fragile, self-interested youth and tentatively more outwardly aware adulthood, a coming into consciousness that she expresses through their broken sentences, diverted glances and abrupt turns.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    Palo Alto is one of the best movies ever made about high school life in America (admittedly a low bar), blurring the lines between how unique it is to be a teenager, and how universal it is to feel like one. Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Coppola doesn't let these kids off the hook for their stupid decisions, of which they make many, but she's not judging them for their folly, either. Unchecked privilege and clueless parents are trotted out as part of the problem, but Coppola seems more interested in exploring human frailty and vulnerability than she is in digging for a social statement.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Ian Freer

    It might not feel fresh but Palo Alto feels real, honest and moving. An impressive debut by an exciting new talent.

    Empire Full Review
  • Mark Olsen

    With Palo Alto Coppola transforms weakness into strength, vulnerability into armor.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Ms. Coppola, who is Francis Coppola's granddaughter, has made a coming-of-age film about a culture in which few people — adults included — ever grow up. It's essentially plotless and slowly paced, much like the recent work of her aunt, Sofia Coppola, but astutely observed, full of fine performances and ever so guardedly hopeful about April and the boy who adores her.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    A delicate tapestry of suburban gothic, romance and realism, with a surprising sweetness at its core and a wonderful star performance from Emma Roberts. Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The best feature film directed by someone named Coppola in a number of years.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    The stories might work better separately as uninterrupted short films. Combined, they lack cohesion but suggest that Coppola has a fine framing eye and ability to guide actors to good work.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Palo Alto may not be the most exciting film about high school life to come along in the past few years, but it is among the most honest and words like "pandering" and "insulting" don't apply.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It’s a solid debut, and it gets to the heart of suburban adolescence in ways that slicker, more ostensibly mature movies don’t. That includes Aunt Sofia’s “The Bling Ring.”

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Sheila O'Malley

    Palo Alto is a very strong first feature, prioritizing mood over message. Coppola does not diagnose underlying societal problems; she does not make assumptions about the cultural void in which the kids live. Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    A hypnotic movie of harsh truth and healing compassion. It sticks with you.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    The result is a thoughtful, dreamlike (at times, nightmarish) tour through the day-to-day lives of several suburban California teens.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Though it lacks a cohesive means of fusing together its interlocking vignettes, Palo Alto effectively showcases the despair and sophomoric rebellion of teen life with a mature eye that clearly establishes a new filmmaker to watch.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The story has something of a flow, but the film feels more like someone dropping in on the characters' lives. It's more about observation than connecting dots. This isn't a detriment, particularly with strong performances to carry things along.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The most powerful aspect of this strange little movie is the sense that in an instant things could go very, very bad — even if they don’t. Palo Alto puts you on edge because it’s all dangerous corners.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    The mimicry is so pronounced that it’s hard to locate a distinct, original sensibility beyond the film’s apparent influences. But talented young directors often need time to develop into singular ones, and there’s value in Coppola’s sensual, always-sympathetic feel for lost adolescents.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    While Palo Alto doesn’t seem to be saying anything new exactly, it boasts a clear and confident voice of its own, and it will be exciting to see where the young Coppola goes from here.

    Variety Full Review
  • Steve Davis

    As lovely as it sometimes is, what this film needs is a little more shape and a little less ambience.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Oliver Lyttelton

    Coppola's screenplay neatly restructures Franco's source material into a deceptively tight narrative, and mostly proves to be raw, authentic and often very funny.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Palo Alto is a well-directed but relatively slight, only occasionally provocative and unremittingly bleak slice of life.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry

    Palo Alto starts strong but runs out of momentum. Strangely, as aimless vignettes give way to bigger life events.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Keith Uhlich

    Fortunately Coppola’s sensitivity is always evident, especially in the open-hearted performances she gets from Roberts and Kilmer (whose father, Val, has a funny, pot-addled cameo).

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Instead of falling into exaggerated exploitation, Coppola always stays true to the essence of adolescence — that sense of waiting, reacting and then waiting some more.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Palo Alto is a pale imitation of the early novels of Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote about young ennui and misdirection from the inside out.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    Palo Alto is "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" without the wit; "River's Edge" without the depth. It's like reading a first novel by a talented writer who has something to say but isn't yet sure how to say it.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Scott Bowles

    Palo Alto marks one of those rare films that is so accurate in its portrayal of characters that the movie suffers for it.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Nothing in the story feels specific to that California city, or emblematic of it.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    In distancing itself from its disaffected characters, Palo Alto evokes only more emptiness — and emptiness has a habit of being dull.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Jesse Cataldo

    It presents little that wasn't already done better in "Myth of the American Sleepover," an equally evocative tale of longing that was far more successful at matching teen tropes with atmospheric naturalism.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Mr. Franco must have had a very boring adolescence, because Palo Alto is a very boring movie.

    New York Observer Full Review
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