Palo Alto (2013)

An extremely assured debut from Gia Coppola. It’s hard not to think of The Virgin Suicides with its skewed coming-of-age stylings and pastel colour scheme – it also exists in the kind of airy, dream-pop reality Sofia has continually perfected – but for the most part it stands on its own feet. Jack Kilmer appears to have inherited his Dad’s magnetism as well as his looks and makes for quite an arresting young presence yet it is clearly Emma Roberts who steals the show here. Being that it’s adapted from a collection of short stories written by James Franco it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him in the cast but it doesn’t feel like gratuity casting. His scenes with Roberts are some of the film’s best, and most uncomfortable. I also enjoyed this world. Watching millennials aimlessly drift around or crash into one another doesn’t sound like riveting cinema but the observations and soundtrack make it an engaging tapestry. Palo Alto feels rather minor compared to other Coppola joints but I’m excited to see whatever Gia comes up with next.

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