I dont care what anyone says, James Franco is the man. His ambition alone is something I really admire considering how lazy I can be. This dude is a professor, actor, student, writer, producer, author and more but i'll stop because it's really making the rest of us look bad.
Palo Alto is based on Franco's book by the same name, which is a collection of linked short stories. The film stars Emma Roberts, James Franco and some people i never saw before and am too lazy to look up. The book was adapted for film by Gia Coppla who directed as well.
I'm pleasantly surprised by Palo Alto, i knew nothing about the film except it was based on a book by James Franco which I knew even less about. Palo Alto focuses on high school students struggling to find themselves and experiencing sex for the first time, most of these experiences prove to be a let down for them. The film has many anxious moments throughout but there's enough hints of comic relief to cut up the tension.
Throughout the film I always felt like something bad was gonna happen and sometimes it did, other times it didn't. This was the main cause of the anxiety I felt watching these characters. There's also a lot of reckless behavior that didn't help relieve that feeling either. This one character, Fred, was the source of most of the recklessness. It got to the point where I felt uncomfortable seeing him on film because he was such a fuckin psycho. I didn't wanna deal with him or see the other characters affected by his actions.
Getting emotionally invested in characters is partly what makes for a good film and this film does that well. I'd say the film mainly focused on Teddy and April, the two most sane kids in the whole picture. Through unfortunate circumstances their budding love is cut short and most of the movie finds them longing for each other but having no idea that the feeling is mutual. Watching montage sequences of them both alone in their rooms being sad for each other is both cute and heartbreaking at the same time. Throughout the film distractions by friends and love interests keep them away from each other. Meanwhile, Fred looms around every corner hoping to fuck up the life of anyone around him.
The film works, it successfully conveys the emotion of the characters to the viewer. Although heavy at times, comedic moments create a release so that the film never drains you or feels too long. The soundtrack is good too. There's really not much here I didn't like. Except for that Fred guy. Get your shit together, Fred.