This weekend I watched Palo Alto, the first film directed and written by Sofia Coppola's niece, Gia Coppola. The film has quite a mix of reviews. Landing with a 68% on rotten tomatoes, the film has been received as a pretty average piece on privileged teenage life.
I always appreciate Emma Roberts in the indie teenage role, as she effortlessly encapsulates the lost girl in a man's world trope. I appreciated the detail they put in her; one example is her lounge yellow jumper we see her consistently wear when she is hanging out in her bedroom. As a high school junior, I can attest that the film successfully portrayed a lot of the awkwardness and tension surrounding social status and substance abuse amongst teenagers. The aesthetic was consistent, highlighting the boringness and connectionless lives of high school aged teenagers, while finding beauty in their mundane existences.
The writing, however, was rather vague and didn’t build any of the characters significantly. The trailer for this film builds up the plot a lot more than it is in actuality. None of the characters go through any miraculous redemption or growth - the events of the film are, in a sense, all over the place. This film had a lot of potential to build on their characters and make their experiences more significant that it did not fulfill. An enjoyable watch, for sure, but it is ultimately an hour and thirty seven minutes of lost teenagers messing around.
This is not to say the movie wasn't lively and charming, though if you prefer movies with more depth it might not be for you.