Palo Alto – Film Review

Gia Coppola's thought provoking and powerful tale of teen rebellion based on James Franco's short stories

“You’re young, you don’t know why you do things, but there’s always a reason,” high-school soccer coach Mr B (James Franco) tells student, striker and part-time babysitter April (Emma Roberts). Palo Alto, the Gia Coppola-directed adaptation of Franco’s short story collection, focuses on the confounding, mess of growing pains that constitutes the impulsive lives of April and her friends. It’s a familiar story, one of sexual awakening, rebellion and teen heartbreak. The extreme depths it plumbs – April losing her virginity to Mr B on his sofa; stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer) driving off after drunkenly crashing into another car – elevate it from being just another film filled with illicit relationships and off-the-rails adolescents to something far more thought-provoking and powerful.

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