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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Palmer ★★★

Fisher Stevens

Starring Justin Timberlake, Ryder Allen, Juno Temple, Alisha Wainwright, June Squibb

True heartbreaking moments are place markers along a predictably familiar story. After twelve years in prison, Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake) returns home to begin getting his life back on track, only to have to adapt through a new relationship with a neglected boy, Sam (Ryder Allen).

It's through the chemistry of the two leads that the film truly breathes. Timberlake is gruff and emotionally thrilling as Eddie Palmer whilst Allen is such a joyous energy in his debut role.

That being said, those performances can only justify so much the familiarity of the story. It follows themes that have been explored previously in the form of Hunt for the Wilderpeople or Peanut Butter Falcon but lacks the enthusiasm and lighter shade. As you'd expect, the heart does grow with the story, but it doesn't grow enough to create the happiness that the film definitely could have contained.

This does explore themes of childhood individuality brilliantly. One scene in particular concerning Sam's teacher Miss Maggie (Alisha Wainwright) on Halloween sent goosebumps down my arms. And the passion that exudes from Timberlake in a courtroom scene could have been career-defining had the same dose of passion been elsewhere.

If nothing else JT confirms that mullets are still creepy, and for that I can only thank him. But it's a slight shame that he put a prodigious amount of ardour into the role for the film to lack a little fun.

Palmer available now on Apple TV+

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