By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Justin Timberlake stars as the titular Eddie Palmer, a former football superstar whose life takes a hard detour after he makes a costly mistake. The movie might be a familiar redemption story, but is one with a more modern twist. Though the story obvious retreads similar material from other movies, it has indelible heart that is hard to deny. Despite all of the tropes and cliches Palmer embraces, it is hard not to be somewhat moved and compelled by this winsome and lovable film that offers a message of love and acceptance.

After serving a sentence for a crime he regrets, Eddie Palmer returns home to spend his parole and work on rebuilding the life he totally upended. Living with his grandmother Vivian (June Squibb), Palmer tries to start anew and stay out of trouble. Not long after his arrival, Eddie discovers that his grandmother helps care for her neighbor’s son Sam (Ryder Allen) a sweet little boy whose mother Shelly (Juno Temple) struggles with drug addiction. Sam is not like any of the town’s other boys. He tends to prefer things that girls his age love and enjoy. As Palmer gets to know Sam better, he becomes a good friend to the child and learns to accept Sam for who he is. The trouble is that the other children and adults in town are not as open and accepting of Sam’s differences and this poses a threat to Palmer’s need to say away from trouble.

Written by Cheryl Guerriero and directed by Fisher Stevens, Palmer may tread familiar territory, but does so with a big earnest heart that it is hard to deny its validity. It is a story of growth and learning that this world sorely needs. Thought the film isn’t exactly an exceptional and shining example of love and acceptance, it still succeeds despite its weaknesses. The wonderful cast helps to deliver an impact with their heartfelt and genuine performances.

Justin Timberlake gives a lovely turn as Eddie Palmer, a passionate man atoning for his crimes. He tries to keep a low profile in town, but finds this difficult when he decides to help and support an outcast that most of the town looks down upon. June Squibb gives a delightfully stern, but lovable performance as Eddie’s loving grandmother Vivian, a lady who obviously believes in second chances and unconditional love. As Sam, the young and talented Ryder Allen gives an outstanding performance as a sweet child who only wants to enjoy and love the things that make him happy. His life with his single mother has always been difficult thus far, and Sam finds much joy and excitement in things that only the girls in his town like.

Palmer is now available for viewing via AppleTV Plus and is a movie I moderately recommend. Regardless of the fact that this movie has much in common with other better and more original films, I still found much to love and enjoy within this hopeful and optimistic story.

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