Movie Review: Palo Alto


Directed By: Gia Coppola

Release Year: 2013

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Read a spoiler-free synopsis from this IMDb page.

My commentary (spoiler-free):

A movie, which I thought, would never land on the list of my movie reviews, is today being praised for its intriguing characters, and story. Definitely a repulsive watch, I consider this movie quite difficult to review because, first of all, this movie has morbid subjects of which I am personally not a fan of and second of all, I do not live in America and have no clue as to how much the movie has excelled in portraying real American teenagers and their lives (like some of the actors have said that the movie has, in an interview).

Almost every character in this movie seemed reckless, crazy and even exasperating to watch at times. Whether it had to do with Fred (Nat Wolff) and Teddy’s (Jack Kilmer) profanities and drug addiction or Emily’s (Zoe Levin) promiscuity, you definitely would not want to watch this movie for the first time with your family—or ever with your family (from my POV).

But, as an audience who has a knack for reviewing movies and books, I would like to say that apart from all the external morbidness of the characters, there is a very important meaning behind the plot, which has been clearly addressed in this movie; the universal theme of teenage angst (as cheesy or as common as it sounds) because I really do not think there are many movies that are as daring and real enough as Palo Alto is. Not to forget, great acting from, most noticeably, Emma Roberts and Nat Wolff; two of the many reasons why the movie is so compelling.

3de2d5ed9d417e63-IsYv7Td858J4IdojHeDCX-55rpnHuDf2dl6hschFUxwACa9z4a8r7JEEOPZcoAoOS9jZFgN8nHY_BBvvWa1rlMl4aDMsGkIeDnbcD1fa1PzIq0v4QlM0ccUSFgnqQWtGU0bSsYbNMk3n5_kV1VHqzOiT-masGQ82ElbkXoTtjqowThe atmosphere that is created in this movie is a reflection of The Virgin Suicides; a greyish vibe and dark hues, thus signaling melancholic experiences. As similar were the cinematography and the mood of Palo Alto with The Virgin Suicides, both do, in fact, deal with identical subjects such as isolation, alienation, and melancholy that starts to creep in as we grow up. What’s even more coincidental is the nature of both movies; how they both are open to us for interpretations.

I have mentioned in my preceding movie review of Ghost World that Ghost World captures the “realness” of adolescence. But if you compare these two movies, I personally think that both movies portray reality differently. While Ghost World was a more conventional portrayal of reality (with the characters’ sassy lines and get-up), Palo Alto does not really focus on pleasing or arousing the audience’s interest with the wardrobe or nice punch lines. Palo Alto resonates more because of its details, for example, the characters talking to themselves, or the long silence in between conversations among the characters. These details and more are some minute aspects of the movie that give an audience a more relatable impression of the movie.

Ratings: starratingstarratingstarratingstarratingfgffeh1.png (4/5)



*Palo Alto scrapbook background from

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