review by Bobby Blakey
I don’t think Justin Timberlake gets enough credit as an actor. HE hasn’t been doing as many films as of late, but his latest film, Palmer brings him back to the forefront co-starring Juno Temple, Alisha Wainwright, June Squibb and Ryder Allen from director Fisher Stevens. Could this move offer up a great return to the big screen for Timberlake or will it be a family not worth having?
Palmer follows former high school football star Eddie Palmer who went from hometown hero to convicted felon, earning himself 12 years in a state penitentiary. He returns home to Louisiana, where he moves back in with Vivian, the grandmother who raised him. While trying to keep his head down and rebuild a quiet life for himself, Palmer is haunted by memories of his glory days and the suspicious eyes of his small town community. Things become more complicated when Vivian’s hard-living neighbor Shelly disappears on a prolonged bender, leaving her precocious and unique 7-year-old son Sam, often the target of bullying, in Palmer’s reluctant care. In time, Palmer is drawn into a more hopeful world as he forges a connection with Sam through their shared experience of being made to feel different by those around them.
I knew of the film itself, but had never sat down and watched the trailer so went in with open eyes on this one. I was surprised how heavy it is in a good way that delivered a great film filled with emotion, heart, laughs and love in all forms. The initial set up is pretty simple and it seems like we are going on just a journey of Palmer as he finds his way back in the free world and while this is here it’s budding relationship with this kid that makes it stand out as something different. The film not only features this unwanted relationship as a guardian, but also a romantic one elsewhere that helps him to try to leave behind who he once was.
This makes for a powerful film that delivers so much. They could have done this in a more main stream way, but adding a unique element to the kid making him a target also opens up the doors to speak on bullying and acceptance that wasn’t expecting. One of the most heartwarming moments came near the end in something that was just so simple, but all encompases sticking to who you are and how the little things mean so much. Timberlake is at the top of his game here bringing a wide range of emotions and easily once of his best performances to date in my opinion. The break through star is Ryder Allen who is the heart of the film and just so good. The chemistry between these two makes this movie and is beautiful to watch.
This is such a great movie and one that everyone should see. Check out Palmer streaming now on Apple TV +.