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Palo Alto

film based on a book of short stories by James Franco. The movie does not have much of a plot; its stories are those of three young high school kids from affluent families who are smart but rather bored and are trying to find themselves, much of the time through sex and drugs (there is clearly a self-medication theme here). The parents are trying to be “hip” by helping their kids (the stepfather of one of the kids corrects his daughter’s paper by rewriting it for her) while also trying to figure out how to deal with their own issues. There is much that is fascinating to watch; I enjoy movies where I have access into the lives of those I wouldn’t normally see or experience. The film has its moments of insight, and the three young people who played the lead characters are what make the movie work as well as it does. Thumbs up for a movie that provides another dimension to the interpretation of adolescence (and, having witten this, I don’t think the movie will be for everyone). (2014; 3 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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