Parents' Guide to

Palm Trees and Power Lines

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Disturbing drama has sexual violence, drinking, and drugs.

Movie R 2023 110 minutes
Palm Trees and Power Lines movie poster: A close-up of a White teen girl's face, about to kiss a man.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

It may have made a splash on the festival circuit but it's no surprise distributors were less confident in taking a chance on a film about the sexual grooming of a teenage girl. The subject matter is undeniably disturbing, and made more so by the realistic way it's portrayed in Jamie Dack's Palm Trees and Power Lines -- incredibly, the director's first feature film. The performances by reliably villainous Tucker (here revealing a piercing attractiveness and gentle humor) alongside newcomer McInerny -- who skillfully mixes innocent vulnerability with a measured caution -- make for a terrifyingly believable portrait of a 17-year-old girl fallen into the hands of a predatory older man. There are red flags throughout, and Lea sees them along with the audience, making what unfolds all the more heartbreaking as the film descends into territory we were dreading (but expecting) from the moment the pair locked eyes across the diner. Once it starts to unfold, we're trapped until the bitter end and left with the helplessness and hopelessness of the film's young central character. It's not an easy watch, but it is a well-crafted and well-acted story handled with sensitivity and care.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 3, 2023
  • On DVD or streaming: March 3, 2023
  • Cast: Lily McInerny , Jonathan Tucker , Gretchen Mol
  • Director: Jamie Dack
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Female actors, Female writers
  • Studio: Momentum Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: High School
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: disturbing material, sexual violence, sexual content, drug/alcohol use, and language - all involving teens
  • Last updated: December 12, 2023

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