Palo Alto

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 52
  2. Negative: 6 out of 52

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User Reviews

  1. May 11, 2014
    7
    At the outset of the film, I was highly fearful that the director would be satisfied to tread on well-worn territory, sticking to the same old cliches that every other teen movie trots out. (The party, "Never Have I Ever", Old dude wants to hook up with young girl). But something about the look of the shots, the soundtrack, and the fresh acting talent (especially Val Kilmer's kid as theAt the outset of the film, I was highly fearful that the director would be satisfied to tread on well-worn territory, sticking to the same old cliches that every other teen movie trots out. (The party, "Never Have I Ever", Old dude wants to hook up with young girl). But something about the look of the shots, the soundtrack, and the fresh acting talent (especially Val Kilmer's kid as the lead actor) won me over. If you didn't want kids before, you won't want kids after seeing this film - but if you're a horny kid yourself? Check it out. Expand
  2. May 31, 2014
    7
    Based on short stories by James Franco, this film randomly follows 3 teens (Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff & Jack Kilmer) as they drink, smoke, have sex and wander thru their adolescence. The story is as aimless as their lives. There's no real structure, just scenes of wasted (literally) youth. The only major adult character is Franco who plays an inappropriate coach, Even with though it feelsBased on short stories by James Franco, this film randomly follows 3 teens (Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff & Jack Kilmer) as they drink, smoke, have sex and wander thru their adolescence. The story is as aimless as their lives. There's no real structure, just scenes of wasted (literally) youth. The only major adult character is Franco who plays an inappropriate coach, Even with though it feels like an MTV reality show, the young actors impressively create natural and complex characters and director Gia Coppola has an ability (like her aunt Sophia) to capture quiet observations and create compelling situations. Look for Jack's dad Val and Gia's great aunt Talia Shire (as the guidance counselor) in cameos. Expand
  3. May 18, 2014
    9
    I didn't love it while watching, but after letting it sit for awhile, I decided that I really, really enjoyed this movie. It's a lot like a Sofia Coppola movie-somewhat plotless, but Gia Coppola does a good job and it comes together. She uses a lot of scenes as vignettes of sorts, and towards the end I could generally see the themes it was attempting to convey. The plot is really not whatI didn't love it while watching, but after letting it sit for awhile, I decided that I really, really enjoyed this movie. It's a lot like a Sofia Coppola movie-somewhat plotless, but Gia Coppola does a good job and it comes together. She uses a lot of scenes as vignettes of sorts, and towards the end I could generally see the themes it was attempting to convey. The plot is really not what won me over though, the way this was shot and the elegant soundtrack are awesome, but the acting! Damn. Jack Kilmer and Nat Wolff are great, especially Wolff's cynical, douchey character. Emma Roberts and James Franco were great and equally convincing as well. It's really kept me thinking about it since I left the theater, and for that it earns my respect. It's not a movie for everyone though and on a purely plot basis, it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from other teenage flicks. But still, everything else adds up to a really fantastic debut for Gia Coppola. Expand
  4. Dec 23, 2015
    7
    The cinematography was awesome, and it's the perfect movie for showing what teenagers do in a rich nice laid-back environment. Totally pointless aside from that, however.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Sep 29, 2014
    80
    It might not feel fresh but Palo Alto feels real, honest and moving. An impressive debut by an exciting new talent.
  2. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jun 12, 2014
    50
    Palo Alto is a pale imitation of the early novels of Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote about young ennui and misdirection from the inside out.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 11, 2014
    75
    The stories might work better separately as uninterrupted short films. Combined, they lack cohesion but suggest that Coppola has a fine framing eye and ability to guide actors to good work.