Palo Alto

became increasingly convinced of the merit here as the (loose) structure unfolded in the last third and the accumulation of moments begin to crystallize the hazy suburban melancholia into something more vital, more thorny, further from the idea of a "coming-of-age" movie. the kids are frozen in periodically violent, frequently addled stasis at the cusp of something like adulthood, which here only figures as a sort of hushed, roiling subterranean hint of dissolution. the slickness of the aestheticization sits uncomfortably between glossy en-vogue distanciation and the genuine uncanny: it's properly nauseating, rather than merely teleological or a kitsch handhold for pseudointellectual appreciation by the indie crowd (which i can only assume, together with the fact that this film has still-functional braincells behind it, is responsible for the lukewarm reception despite its not insignificant shared dna with the more braindead indie teen movies that slithered fully formed from the a24 cloning tanks in the waning years of the previous decade). this isn't "relatable" (well it is but only in the sense that the characters have a blankness of interiority that's closer to 20th century euro shit than it is to contemporary sensibilities and so you can really put into them what you like and get out of them the same, slightly transmogrified and specified, of course) and its moves towards abstraction are executed with focus and vision...it's not even really within the ill-defined borders of my taste in the usual sense but i can appreciate this kind of thing when it's done well and smartly, and this is probably one of the late peaks of that...good flick

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