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Palmer (Justin Timberlake) Review

Palmer (Justin Timberlake) Review
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PLOT: An ex-convict finds himself taking care of a young boy after his addict mother runs off with her abusive boyfriend.

REVIEW: Justin Timberlake has achieved something quite impressive during his career. It's damn near impossible to transition from a massive pop star to a serious acting career. Yet he's managed to do so in films like The Social Network, Inside Llewyn Davis, Wonder Wheel, and more. As an actor, he's been able to find a decent niche bringing his charisma to the big screen. That said, the choices he has made and the performances he has offered haven't inspired a ton of range. And now there's Palmer. The new film is written by Cheryl Guerriero and directed by Fisher Stevens, and it may be the first time that Mr. Timberlake has captured the essence of his character as movingly as he has done here. The new feature - currently available on Apple TV+ - offers the actor a chance to showcase a very different side of himself. Palmer is far more impressive than what's come before in his career.

Justin Timberlake palmer

Justin Timberlake is Palmer, a man just released from prison.  Hoping to find a new direction, he comes back home to stay with Vivian (June Squibb), his Grandmother who raised him. Her home is next door to a trailer where Shelly (Juno Temple) and her young son Sam (Ryder Allen) reside. Palmer soon becomes aware that Shelly tends to leave her son with Vivian without notice for days. However, things get complicated for him after the death of Vivian. Her passing comes while Sam is staying with them, and Shelly has once again left without any warning. Palmer realizes the boy isn't like the others, as the young lad has a love for princesses and other more feminine hobbies. Soon the ex-con realizes that he must take care of this young man while reevaluating the troubled road he himself has traveled.

Fisher Stevens has directed a sweet story with his latest feature film. The subject of a man finding something inside himself while taking care of a child isn't even remotely new. We've seen it countless times before, especially in a few recent comedies. What sets Palmer apart is that the boy in question is dealing with turmoil all his own. Due to his appreciation for things more associated with girls, Sam must deal with bullies at school on top of his drug addict mother, and the continual inclusion of jerks that are in her life who are abusive to the boy. For Sam, he finds joy in playing with some of his female classmates and watching a show about magical princesses. Even with all his trouble, the young man has a heart of gold and is loving and loyal to those in his life; this includes his new friend Palmer.

The story itself isn't even remotely original, yet even with the predictable turns you'll find much to appreciate. The main draw is the inspired on-screen relationship between Timberlake and Allen. The two share substantial chemistry that makes their building friendship all the more compelling. Justin Timberlake gives the best performance of his career as a man forced into a difficult situation. Although it's impossible to compete with Ryder Allen. This young actor steals every single moment he's on-screen. Allen is a natural who manages to bring such honesty to this troubled young child. It's not just that he's a precocious kid that will charm you, Allen manages to bring depth to the joyful Sam who desires everyone around him to be as happy as he is. This young actor is exceptionally good here.

Palmer, Justin Timberlake, Ryder Allen, Fisher Stevens, Juno Temple, Apple TV, Drama, JoBlo.comAs good as both Timberlake and Allen are, they aren't the only ones that shine. Juno Temple is terrific as an addict who desperately loves her son, even if she doesn't have the strength to take proper care of him. Alisha Wainwright is excellent as Sam's teacher Maggie, a kind soul who takes a personal interest in Sam and Palmer's well being. And June Squibb is perfect as a loving Grandmother who helps care for the young Sam when necessary. The performances in this enjoyable feature are the key here. We've seen this before, but the filmmakers bring something unique to Sam's character, as well as a group of talented actors bringing it to life makes the film far more memorable than it may have been with lesser talent involved.

Palmer is a familiar tale of redemption. Thankfully, Justin Timberlake and Ryder Allen elevate the material with their warm and touching relationship. Just like Sam, the film is less cynical than it could've been, and perhaps that's not a bad thing. While you have to question how realistic this storyline would play out under more true to life circumstances, it's nice to see a bit of good when it comes to this type of tale. It's also terrific to see Justin Timberlake taking on a challenging role and pushing himself as a performer. Currently available on Apple TV+, Palmer may be predictable and you've likely seen this type of story many times before, but it has a huge heart and great performances to bring it all together. It's well worth a watch.

Source: JoBlo.com

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