Girl in the Palms Image

Girl in the Palms

By Bradley Gibson | March 12, 2024

Girl in the Palms is a visual treat, from the colorful scenery to the attractive cast. Florida is a political and cultural wasteland more like Mordor with beaches than paradise, but it is certainly pretty with sand, palm trees, and the ocean. Directors of photography Tracy Nichole Cring and Tara Rule have a real eye for painting tropical images and people, taking full advantage of the land and seascapes. Christmas lights in Key West round out the splashes of chromatic chaos. Luna’s episodes with those she meets on the trip play like parables. Each one of them brings her some message or insight or warning. Nearly everything about the movie is pleasant. The lush cinematography and the underlying pulse of the soft soundtrack envelop the viewer in positive vibes.

Nearly everything about the movie is pleasant.”

There are a couple of jarring, notable exceptions. The first 6 minutes are manic, as Luna wakes from a dream in a car with a woman named Justine (Tara Rule). Luna seems to have hitched a ride but discovers they are headed in the wrong direction. Justine is so out of control and unbalanced that the opening is anxiety and anger-inducing. It’s also not clear that Luna is the main character. Spending 90 minutes with Justine would be too much to ask. When she drops Luna off in a fit of psychotic rage, the viewer is greatly relieved. This scene is tonally out of place versus the rest of the picture. It is an inauspicious beginning.

Girl in the Palms is a powerful testament to female empowerment. It works well as such, despite being preachy in spots. It’s on the nose enough that those who dislike that message will call it woke feminist propaganda. The message, however, is crucial, and more of this kind of storytelling is needed until the tables are finally turned. That said, it would be wrong to characterize the drama as being only a message for feminism and agency for women. At the core, this is a fully human story of grief, healing, learning, and repairing mistakes made in the past. Luna is a young woman on the cusp of embracing her identity and moving into the world with power. The appeal is universal.

Girl in the Palms (2024)

Directed: Jon Russell Cring

Written: Jon Russell Cring, Tracy Nichole Cring

Starring: Lupe Sujey Cuevas, Michalina Scorzelli, Monique Parent, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Girl in the Palms Image

"…a powerful testament to female empowerment."

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