I have been reading mixed reviews this evening of the Justin Timberlake / AppleTV+ film, ‘Palmer.’ It is unfortunate because I truly liked this film and thought that it would be getting more love than it is. This is a great showcase for Justin Timberlake who does a very good job in his role as the title character. It is also features a young actor by the name of Ryder Allen who does an absolute remarkable job portraying the young, neglected Sam.
Justin T. plays newly paroled Eddie Palmer who moves in with his grandmother and tries to rebuild his life. His grandmother, Vivian, has a young woman who lives next door in a mobile home with her young son Sam, who spends a good bit of his time with Vivian, sometimes spending the night because his mother is often out drinking or strung out on drugs and is gone for days at a time. Eddie is trying his best to not only get adjusted to being out of prison and back in his old hometown but also learning to have young Sam around.
The thing about Sam though is he plays with dolls, wears barrettes and loves cartoons about flying girls and even chooses a fairy costume to wear for Halloween so Palmer has some issues with trying to relate to Sam – at first.
When Vivian dies and Sam’s mom is still not home from one of her ‘binges’, Palmer reluctantly agrees to let him stay with him in his grandmother’s house but as time goes on, they each grow on each other and become dependent on each other in many ways.
This is where some people might think the film follows a predictable path and in some ways, yes, it probably does, but it works and in a good way. Justin Timberlake really pushes himself here as an actor and I commend him for doing a good job. The other people in the cast, the grandmother and the mother of Sam, also do a good job as well. But 8 year old Ryan Allen, as Sam, is remarkable. Two of the scenes alone that he is central to are just heartbreaking and he does a great job.
I love that this film gets its message across without being overly ‘preachy’ and does not tie up the end with a pretty bow as one might expect.
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