Palmer wasn’t my first choice for a Saturday evening movie, but Ryder Allen and a good performance by Justin Timberlake made it a good and powerful movie.
Apple TV+ is known by its amazing productions at this point. Palmer is no exception. It’s a powerful movie about a guy (Justin Timberlake) who’s recently released from prison after serving 12 years for attempted murder. He moves in with his Grandmother who raised him. While looking for a job, strikes up a friendship with a boy from a troubled home who teaches him a lot of things.
Everyone around me knows that I am not a fan of Justin Timberlake the actor. So, I was very skeptical going into Palmer. And just so you know, I’m still not a fan.
Even though during the movie, you start cheering for his character for doing the right thing even when it hurts him, Timberlake just doesn’t have the chops to completely pull this off. This role calls for more emotional depth, which he obviously lacked. Instead, he came of as an angry ex-con without any real backstory.
Saying that, Ryder Allen wins my heart here. He plays Sam, a young kid who enjoys playing with femininity; he tries on lipstick, adores dolls and, on Halloween, asks to dress up as a fairy princess. To its credit, the film never jumps to glib conclusions about who Sam is or might become.
Whatever lessons may be learned by watching Palmer (and they’re very few and superficial sadly), the film avoids feeling preachy or too heavy with messages.
Should you watch it?
It’s unlikely to win any awards, let along an Oscar, but this really is the one of the most heartwarming films of the past year and it’s well worth 110 minutes of your time. Mainly for Ryder Allen and not Timberlake himself.
Where can I watch it?
You can stream Palmer exclusively on Apple TV+.