George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who has made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, is befriended by Sally, a popular but complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.
Shy, sensitive April is the class virgin, torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach Mr. B and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy. Emily, meanwhile, offers sexual favors to every boy to cross her path - including both Teddy and his best friend Fred, a life wire without filters or boundaries. As one high school party bleeds into the next - and April and Teddy struggle to admit their mutual affection - Fred's escalating recklessness starts to spiral into chaos.
Don't come looking for plot - our teen years didn't have one either. Like Dazed and Confused before it, Palo Alto throws us into the joys, pains, and emotions of the life of American-suburban adolescence. Though unlike its defacto predecessor, Palo Alto takes a look at this world through a softer, more elegant, more personal lens. The film bounces us around from character to character, all high school students in the titled town. Reckless parties, desperate sexual encounters, jealousies, weed, breaking things, sexually aggressive teachers (James Franco) and, of course, homework. It's all part of the world of Palo Alto. There is no rhyme or reason. Or is there? James Franco (whose book of short stories the film is based on) plays Mr. B, the high school soccer coach, tells his favorite player April that everything has a reason. Maybe he's right. You be the judge. Director Gia Coppola, in her first feature-length effort, works wonders at keeping the characters and the world of Palo Alto authentic. "Glee" exists in a land far, far away from here. Instead, we get an unfiltered look at what it takes to navigate the turbulence of adolescence and find our path to adulthood. It's a painful but beautiful thing.
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