Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Palo Alto (2013)

Director: Gia Coppola
Writers:  James Franco, Gia Coppola
Cast:       Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, James Franco

Palo Alto is famous as the happening place in Silicon Valley but this film has got nothing to do with Tech start-ups. It is about four teenagers whom you may stereotype as class virgin-April (Emma Roberts), class slut-Emily (Zoe Levin), dreamy artist-Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and an impulsive live-wire-Fred (Nat Wolff). April and Teddy have crush on each other which they haven't got a chance to communicate yet and the film doesn't have much of a plot and is a mood-piece, like Sofia Coppola's 'Lost In Translation'. If you liked that film like I did, you might enjoy Palo Alto.

So it is another one from the Coppola clan getting into film business. Gia Coppola is Francis Ford Coppola's grand daughter and the film is adapted from James Franco's collection of short stories called 'Palo Alto'. Emma Roberts is niece of Julia Roberts and Jack Kilmer is son  of Val Kilmer. You may very well prejudge that the film is an exercise in nepotism, but it is a very good watch if you are into films that is more about mood than plot. I will always take this over shit like 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' which got near universal acclaim. There is a coming of age element to all the four characters and it is quite subtle. James Franco plays the sympathetic football coach who has a thing for the girls whom he coaches. I don't know whether his real life Instagram related shenanigans had anything to do with promotion of this film but I suspect not. You cannot say for sure after Joaquin Phoenix's year long weird behavior for making 'that' documentary.

Gia Coppola's aunt, Sofia Coppola, also made her directorial debut with another teenage characters driven film called 'Virgin Suicide' but I found Palo Alto to be much better than that. Sofia had made another such film in 'Bling Ring' last year which I tried to watch but lasted only ten minutes or so. I guess it is similar to Spring Breakers, which also I didn't like because of the cringe inducing characters, but the entire point of those films would be the horribleness of its characters. Some people might say the same about the characters in Palo Alto but I found it to be very good but it might not be up everyone's alley.

Rating: 3.5/5