Palmer Review – A Touching Tale of new family, Identity and Redemption

Palmer review

Two Souls, one seeking purpose, the other acceptance, find their place together in ‘Palmer’, an Apple Original movie, coming January 29th, 2021

Palmer Review - A Touching Tale of new family, Identity and Redemption 1

He is quickly reunited with old friends and family but also realises the world didn’t stop just because he was absent. While many things are familiar, there is also much which has changed, and he sets out trying to understand where he fits in

He finds a place with his grandmother and attempts to find employment but faces the issues most ex-convicts face when trying to find post release employment. Small towns also have long memories so there are those who refuse to believe any sort of reform has occurred in prison.

Whilst trying to overcome these prejudices, he meets and forms a bond with a young boy named Sam who not only challenges his way of thinking but also gives him a purpose.

Palmer Review - A Touching Tale of new family, Identity and Redemption 2

Palmer sees Justin Timberlake return to acting after what feels like a significant break (if you don’t count Trolls). While It takes a while to get going, his character eventually springs to life.

Eddy Palmer isn’t a cut out ‘good guy’ or a ‘bad guy’, just a regular man who made a mistake in his youth and wants to keep his head down and prove to his community that his crime was a one-off mistake

Ryder Allen plays Sam, the young boy who despite having more than his fair share of issues going on, manages to remain positive, trusting, and optimistic about life. His single mother played brilliantly by Juno Temple regularly abandons him for days while on drug binges and he practically became a ward of Palmers Church going community pillar grandmother Vivian, played by veteran actress June Squibb.

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Palmer Review - A Touching Tale of new family, Identity and Redemption 3

The crux of the story is the relationship between Palmer and Sam. Whilst Palmer is on a journey of self-discovery and redemption, Sam already appears perfectly happy and comfortable with who he is. He is a boy who likes wearing makeup, playing dress up and dreams of being part of his favourite princess TV show.

Justin Timberlake Palmer
Credit: Apple TV +

In a small town like this, he inevitably becomes the victim of ridicule and bulling, not just by other children but their parents as well. Despite these factors making his already troubled life more difficult, he makes no attempt to hide himself

Palmer: How many boys do you see in your princess show?

Sam: None

Palmer: What does that tell you?

Sam: I’ll be the first

Palmer director Fisher Stevens
Palmer Director Fisher Stevens

Director Fisher Stevens makes every effort to keep this a very personal story and not make any over-generalizations about gender identification or sexuality. This is a delicate story of how two unlikely friends, troubled by circumstance, come together to form a deep bond, and improve each other’s circumstances.

Palmer has solid performances and carries a positive message about second chances, purpose, and acceptance. Family isn’t always where you’re born but sometimes what you can make from what you have. This is a much welcome addition to Apples current slate of high-quality films and shows. The story was engaging and despite being a bit of a slow burner, it didn’t feel like it was unnecessarily long or had outstayed its welcome. Justin Timberlake continues to show he is much more than a singer who acts but an artist who sings and acts

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Another Apple Original, an animated feature called Wolf Walkers really impressed at the BFI London Film Festival. read more here

See the full trailer for Palmer here

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