‘Palm Trees and Power Lines’ Movie Review [Sundance 2022]: Lily McInerny’s Performance Wows in Cycle of Toxic Relationships Story
Palm Trees and Power Lines is a dark coming of age story and cautionary tale. Jamie Dack directs from a script he co-wrote with Audrey Findlay. Actress Lily McInerny delivers an authentic and powerful lead performance alongside the haunting supporting role of Jonathan Tucker. Palm Trees and Power Lines is full of humor but has a light story.
‘Palm Trees and Power Lines’ shows a relationship with an age difference
Lea (McInerny) is a 17-year-old girl who lives with her single mother. She regularly invites men over, leaving Lea feeling like a lower priority. She spends more and more time with her friend Amber (Quinn Frankel) and a group of guys. However, Lea often doesn’t approve of her immature antics.
After Lea and her gang stop paying a bill at a restaurant, she meets a 34-year-old man named Tom (Tucker). He is attractive, mature and gives her all the attention in the world. Everything seems perfect. However, Lea discovers that her intentions are not exactly what they seem to be.
Jamie Dack’s feature directorial debut is based on a short film
Palm Trees and Power Lines is based on Dack’s short film of the same name. The show begins by placing the audience in Lea’s world. She is the typical teenage girl who watches makeup tutorials, gets a tan, and spends a lot of time getting into mischief with her friends. However, she is a bit more mature than her peers. Lea has sex with a guy from the group, but it’s clear that he doesn’t really satisfy her.
Lea meeting Tom is a major turning point. However, Findlay and Dack’s script and Dack’s direction make it clear that something is not quite right with him. She sees her comments and actions as candy, but it’s clear that he’s taking advantage of her. Tom frequently tries to relate to Lea on a personal level, though he quickly shows extreme signs of jealousy and control.
Palm Trees and Power Lines shows the strained relationships in Lea’s life. She doesn’t really have a healthy relationship with anyone around her. These strained relationships and her mistrust of others push her straight into Tom’s arms.
‘Palm Trees and Power Lines’ has a light plot, but a heavy message
Social media and some critics singled out Red Rocket and Licorice Pizza for the age difference in their relationships. However, Palm Trees and Power Lines also shows a huge age difference. Similar to Red Rocket, Dack explores the themes of power and control. Tom constantly wields both to take a form of Lea’s property.
Incredibly detailed performances soar palm trees and power lines. The movie is light on plot and doesn’t really fill its nearly 2-hour runtime. However, McInerny puts in a brilliant performance as Lea. The character reads authentically and the emotional power of the film is due to this excellent performance. Tucker provides the terrifying quality of the film that lurks in every scene she shares with McInerny.
Palm Trees and Power Lines is an awkward watch. Dack brings a raw approach to the subject that is efficient. However, it’s a familiar story that doesn’t fully utilize its running time, leaving the movie with a lot of empty space. However, the ending of Palm Trees and Power Lines is a real punch in the gut that remains impactful and important in depicting the cycle of toxic relationships.
Source: Jeff Nelson, Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Direct News 99