“Palo Alto,” a movie directed by Gia Coppola, improved into a short story collection by James Franco, portrays raw emotions of the teenage search to fit in, find love, and define identity. This film emphasizes three conflicted teenagers living in wealthy Californian suburbs trying to resolve their agonizing problems. The beginning engages the audience when Fred crashes his car into a wall and Teddy, in the passenger seat, stares ahead of him, and a question pops up in his mind: “What am I doing?”
Later, the protagonist finds himself struggling between going along with his best friend’s careless attitude, and improving himself, not only for himself, but for his family. Around him, a few teenagers illustrate the difficulties of dealing with their personal problems and society status.
The silence contained in this film screams out more about being a teenager compared to other films. Even though it is silent, the underlying emotions of anger, confusion, and sadness are spoken loudly. Living in an environment where teenagers try to forget their problems by consuming alcohol and/or drugs, often leads to increasing problems. Many teenagers might be able to relate to this film through the emotions portrayed, and potentially give insight to adults on the modern teenager experience.
The ending truly demonstrates that the decisions made in life may lead to something better; and if not, you’re on the wrong track. Sometimes, it’s too late to turn back.
“When you’re in high school everything can seem painful: either painfully boring or painfully disappointing. But after high school you can look back on it and see that it was all experience, all vital life, and it can be used to make art.” -Palo Alto