Being an adolescent is a time of challenge for many individuals. There is peer pressure and a desire to be popular. There is also disconnect in young people’s relationships with their parents.
In Palm Trees and Power Lines, the lines of disconnect and peer pressure intersect in this tale of a girl who just wants to feel loved. This movie is visually moving and utterly surprising. The film deals with deep emotions and will change the way many look at individuals growing up in challenging times. Through the eyes of actress Lily McInerny, we experience her vision of what she feels can bring her life and happiness. She is someone who deserves both, but the way she receives them may not be what everyone anticipates.
Palm Trees and Power Lines is focused on the pressures of a teen girl. There are many romantic opportunities for the girl. The issues, however, are that she feels like her mom does not connect with her, and her friends are strange. These issues cause her to not have the best judgment regarding what direction to go in her life. Palm Trees and Power Lines displays many of the emotional behaviors which can cause an adolescent to not think straight or think for themselves. The film is a vivid work of art that crosses boundaries. Despite the disturbing scenarios, it is faithful in its illustration of wanting to be connected.
The plot Palm Trees and Power Lines centers on Lea (McInerny). She is a teenage girl who lives with her mom Sandra (played by Gretchen Mol.) Lea feels disconnected because her mom cares about having a social life which does include Lea. Although Lea’s mom does not have bad intentions, Lea surrounds herself with friends who drink and get into other mischievous teenage behavior. All of this stops when Lea meets Tom (played by Jonathan Tucker.) The age difference between them is huge and concerning. Lea is only seventeen and Tom is in his thirties. When they’re together, Lea feels happy and connected. However, as they continue to hang out and have that romantic vibe, some red flags appear. For example, when Lea goes out with Tom, she is asked numerous times if she needs help which makes Lea question what Tom is like. Still, she feels too connected to let him go.
The relationship between Tom and Lea raises a lot of eyebrows. It even shifts Lea’s behavior towards her mother. When her mother tries to be there for Lea, Lea becomes rebellious and acts like her mom is distracted. While her mom is distracted, she is not a bad person. Lea struggles to see who is looking out for her, as her relationship with Tom grows stronger. Since their romance is already inappropriate, Lea feels she is invested in being part of Tom’s life. Therefore, she spends more time with him than working on herself or her other problems in her own life.
The theme of Palm Trees and Power Lines is heavy and emotional. Some may find it hard to watch which I did during a few scenes. It is a story in which Lea must decide if she wants to continue the situation she is in with Tom. Is she truly happy? Is Tom realistic about his feelings? With the age gap, there is a series of consequences that can ruin both their lives. Palm Trees and Power Lines demonstrates how adolescents make poor decisions during difficult times which made me feel empathy for Lea in the film.
One fact I reflected on throughout Palm Trees and Power Lines was that in young adults much of the human brain is not yet fully developed. This was evident in Lea’s performance. Because of her age, she does not understand what it is like to be in love or committed, but simply wants to feel cared for.
Palm Trees and Power Lines is one of the heaviest representations I have seen related to the consequences involved in poor judgment while growing up. It is mesmerizing, although it may be hard to sit through a second viewing. Three stars.
Available for rent and purchase on most streaming services.