Palo Alto, film review: Gia Coppola gets under the skin of protagonists in truthful teen movie

(15) Gia Coppola, 100 mins Starring: Emma Roberts, James Franco, Jack Kilmer
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The Independent Culture

Palo Alto is the type of teen movie that you could imagine Nicholas Ray (director of Rebel without a Cause) making if he was still around today.

Its writer and co-star James Franco is often accused of spreading himself too thin as he acts, curates, directs and stages exhibitions but the film feels truthful in a way that some of his other work does not. His characters are new variations on the old American archetype of the disaffected American teenager.

Franco himself is well cast as the handsome but needy football coach and single dad who preys on his babysitters. The director Gia Coppola (granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola) gets under the skin of protagonists who seem like pampered, listless delinquents on the surface but who all turn out to be lost souls.