BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
After seeing this directorial debut from Gia Coppola, I may just have found my new favourite Coppola. Of course, it’s tough to say judging from only one film, but Em’s statement leaving the theatre gives me much hope, “It’s like her Lick the Star.”
I wasn’t sold on the premise of Palo Alto before seeing it. I’m not very interested in teen dramas, just because I don’t often feel like I can relate to the teens on the screen. I can’t say that my mind was changed much on that front after seeing this (who are these teens we keep seeing on screen?! Are there really people like that?!), but belief-suspended, I was intrigued. Furthermore, I was pleasantly surprised that these stories came from James Franco’s collection of short stories (are the copious amount of weed-smoking an indication of something?). At times, I’d get so wrapped up in stories that I’d forget how interested I was in other storylines before they returned to the screen.
Gia Coppola’s directing style is very comparable to Sofia’s. However, that’s not to say necessarily that she was influenced by her talented aunt’s style, but maybe just that hailing from the same family, they naturally happen to have a lot of the same aesthetic tastes. Gia’s style felt a bit more raw, a little more magnified, focusing on cropped facial closeups and inanimate details. It was interesting and beautiful to look at. For a directorial debut, I’m excited for what’s in store from her.
The mostly-young cast was also strong, carrying deeply emotional and challenging narratives, namely Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer and Nat Wolff. More seasoned cast members stood out too: James Franco, Val Kilmer and Chris Messina. With such a large and talented cast, all characters made the most of their (sometimes too short) screen time.
The film’s release date hasn’t yet been announced, but write this film down and keep it in mind. It’s one you’ll want to keep your eyes out for.