Palm Trees and Power Lines (2023) movie review

Astute viewers will immediately pick up on the nature of Tom’s “job,” and the horror of this film comes from watching Lea ignore, rationalize, or simply fail to see the many red flags. flag that Tom threw in his path. It was clear what Tom was planning, but what Lea was thinking was less clear. “Palm Trees and Power Lines” shows promise in this area in its first scenes, showing the sexually charged atmosphere that surrounds Lea and showing the ways her mom taught her to put men first. Apart from this one part of his life, however, his personality remains elusive.

Lea’s body language is passive, with shoulders slumped and eyes downcast. He has no hobbies other than a casual interest in music, and he doesn’t know what he wants to do after high school. We know he’s smart and cynical enough that he doesn’t blindly follow every adult in his life. But the general lack of definition in her character means that, as she goes deeper down the rabbit hole of grooming and sexual abuse, Lea can only be defined by her victimhood.

Dack relies on performances to connect the character and audience, framing more shocking scenes to protect his young actress (this is McInerny’s first feature film) and staying in McInerny’s face. above, uncut close-ups. McInerny’s sudden frown as she realizes exactly what Tom wants from her, and her eyes well up with tears as she looks around the room looking for a way out, is heartbreaking. These shots are reminiscent of a scene in Audrey Diwanmovie by”happened,” where the camera remains static as its main character tries not to scream during a painful at-home abortion.

The protagonist of “What Happened” is a more fully realized person, however, which makes it easier to connect with him in that moment. In fact, 17-year-olds often have no idea what they want or who they want in real life. But the procedural emphasis on what happens to Lea in “Palm Trees and Power Lines,” and not what she thinks or feels about it, means that in the end, what remains is the trauma, and not the person who experienced it.

Now playing in theaters and available on VOD.

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