To Be Young, Foolish And Baffled: Coming Of Age In 'Palo Alto'

May 8, 2014 9:26 PM

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To Be Young, Foolish And Baffled: Coming Of Age In 'Palo Alto'

"What's going through your mind when you're doing that... or do you not think at all?" Those words, familiar to any teenager and parent, get yelled at Teddy (Jack Kilmer) about halfway through Palo Alto. Teddy, still in high school, is on probation after his second arrest, his final chance to get his act together before facing time in a juvenile detention center. The line, though, could have been directed at nearly any of the teenagers in Gia Coppola's thoughtful debut feature, which offers an empathetic account of teenage tribulations but also makes a good case for why the phrase "troubled youth" is needlessly tautological.

Coppola, who here extends her family's predilection for producing talented directors one generation further, seems to have taken most from her Aunt Sofia's films. Palo Alto shares the soft visual tones of Somewhere and Lost in Translation, their patient pacing, and their tendency to linger on mundan...

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