Palo Alto: Gia Coppola’s Directing Debut, Youth Tale Starring Emma Roberts

palo_alto_posterThe filmic talent must run deep in the Coppola family. Gia Coppola is the latest director to have come from this three-generational clan, headed by Francis Ford Coppola.

World premiering at the 2013 Venice Film Fest to nice response, and playing at the Telluride and Toronto Film Fests, Palo Alto will be relased by Tribeca Films in April 2014

In this angst-ridden youth tale, Emma Roberts (Julia’s niece) is well cast as April, a shy, sensitive girl who’s her class’ virgin.   April spends her time playing soccer and babysitting for Mr. B. (James Franco), her single-dad coach.

Enter Teddy (Jack Kilmer), an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick Fred (Nat Wolff) is an unpredictable guy obeying few boundaries. While April gets involved in a dangerous affair with Mr. B., Teddy performs community service for a DUI, secretly in love with April, who may or may not share his affection.

palo_alto_2_robertsMeanwhile, Fred seduces Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner who seeks validation through sexual encounters.

The narrative unfolds as a series of high school parties, during which we get to know the protagonists and the parallel trajectories of the two central couples.

It’s only a matter of time before April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and that a guy like Fred, whose behavior is defined by escalating recklessness, is inevitably bound to face chaos.

palo_alto_1_franco“Palo Alto” is an assured directorial debut; it doesn’t feel like a first film.  Gia Coppola shows stronger interest in visual texture and mood rather than storytelling or characterization (The work of her aunt, Sofia Coppola, is also defined by such attributes).


Running Time:  98 minutes

MPAA Rating: R