Palm Bushes and Energy Strains film overview (2023)

Savvy viewers will instantly decide up on the character of Tom’s “work,” and the horror of this movie comes from watching Lea ignore, rationalize, or simply plain fail to spot the numerous purple flags Tom throws in her path. It’s clear what Tom is as much as, however what Lea thinks is much less apparent. “Palm Bushes and Energy Strains” reveals promise on this space in its early scenes, exhibiting the sexually charged environment that surrounds Lea and demonstrating the ways in which her mother taught her to place males at the start else. Apart from this one space of her life, nevertheless, her character stays elusive.

Lea’s physique language is passive, with drooping shoulders and downcast eyes. She has no hobbies in addition to an off-the-cuff curiosity in music, and she or he doesn’t know what she needs to do after she finishes highschool. We do know that she’s good and cynical sufficient that she doesn’t blindly obey each grownup in her life. However the total lack of definition in her character signifies that, as she goes deeper down the rabbit gap of grooming and sexual abuse, Lea turns into outlined solely by her victimhood.

Dack depends on the performances to attach the character and viewers, framing the extra stunning scenes to guard her younger actress (that is McInerny’s first function movie) and lingering on McInerny’s face in lengthy, unbroken close-ups. The fleeting furrow in McInerny’s forehead as she realizes what Tom really needs from her, and her eyes welling up with tears as she scans the room in search of a approach out, are heartbreaking. These pictures recall a scene in Audrey Diwan’s movie “Taking place,” the place the digicam stays static as its foremost character tries to not scream throughout a painful at-home abortion. 

The protagonist in “Taking place” is a extra totally realized particular person, nevertheless, which makes it simpler to attach together with her at that second. Certainly, 17-year-olds typically do not know what they’re into or who they wish to be in actual life. However the procedural emphasis on what occurs to Lea in “Palm Bushes and Energy Strains,” and never what she thinks or feels about it, signifies that ultimately, what sticks is the trauma, and never the particular person experiencing it. 

Now enjoying in theaters and accessible on VOD. 

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