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  • Warning: Spoilers
    The movie in my opinion was good. The cast was very good. I'm wondering if this is the movie that made Ryan Murphy decide to cast actor Cody Fern in American Crime Story: Versace. It probably is. I liked the bond between siblings in this movie. I also liked how it depicted a family living in what is supposed to be the Valhalla of Suburban life and how truly fractured that family was. The mother who was played by Jennifer Garner was a mess and depended on her son to ease her pain. The father selfishly decided to start a new family and leave his children behind with their broken mother. Medina was more equipped to handle this , but Jim fell apart. His downward spiral was so sad. That ending was heartbreaking, but that's how things are nowadays. I appreciated the movie for that.
  • Moviegoer1910 December 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Another reviewer referred to this film as "cruel." I think a better word is "sad." It was quite well done. Despite anticipating the brother's demise, I was moved to tears at the end. The film did a great job of showing the complexities of being in a nuclear family in the 21st century, though, to be honest, I wasn't sure of the time frame until Facebook was mentioned. In most films that take place today the cell phone plays a major role and in this film it didn't, though they did Skype.

    Anyway, Jennifer Garner is usually not a favorite of mine, but her acting in this film was excellent as was Maika Monroe's. The complex emotions exchanged by the members of this broken upper middle class family were realistic, palpable, and multi-dimensional. For example, it would have been easy to simply hate the father (Justin Kirk) for falling out of love with his wife and leaving his family for another one, yet one scene in which he explains himself to his daughter, bore some truths which made me feel empathy for him as well as the others.

    The story was presented with depth which is what made it successful, in my opinion. It's not a happy film, or even particularly hopeful, but it is a realistic slice of life and engrossing.
  • This is a very good movie, people and characters in it are all look real. The broken marriages to so many families nowadays in almost every country of the world not only affected so many husbands and wives but also seriously messed up their children. America's social infrastructure is like a broken and shattered glass, so many broken families, so many toilet relationships, so many twisted hardship that kids have to deal with their parents' bad marriage. America has become a weird family tree, its branches and leaves so complicated, either the wives carried their kids to new marriage, or the husbands brought their kids from his first, second or even 3rd marriage to newest wives, while their newer wives or husbands also got their own kids from their former marriages. More divorces simply complicated the family tree's growth and burdened it to unknown, unpredictable and unfathomable abyss. Kids growing up from such broken families many have twisted views almost to everything that ensured them to repeat the same or similar situations of their own marriages, their relationship to their opposite gender. They would become a bad copy of their parents and usually, the 2nd or the 3rd copy will be always worse than its 1st edition.

    This is a very cruel but up close and personal film that I could hardly be able to watch to the end. I pity the three young children from two different broken families. The hardships they have to deal with 24/7 are so cruel and unbearable. I felt so sad while watching it and couldn't resist thinking of my elder son's broken marriage, and the grandson jammed in between his mother and father. The hardship my son has to deal with everyday is beyond every word could be described.

    This film is just too cruel to watch.....
  • hayleetainsh24 June 2019
    This movie came up on a list of best surf movies. It is not about surfing! This movie is about a dysfunctional family going through a divorce. It's very sad. It's well written and interesting. Just be prepared that this is not an upbeat film about waves and surfers.
  • I normally don't watch movies. Actually I rarely ever watch movies. But it was on cable and I didn't feel like being bothered with the other hyped up marketed acts last night so I sat through this. And the summary of the movie was not accurate. The ratings are a joke here. First, this is one of the better screenwriting. Two, Jennifer Garner CAN act. Three, direction was excellent. This isn't a feel good movie. This movie is true to life. If not Palos Verdes, then anywhere in Southern California. Life is not a feel good movie, and unfortunately it's really this ugly for anyone who is the unwilling trapped victim of a narcissist. In this case, it's the all too common children of divorce. The reason why I don't like the summary "coming of age" is because it really isn't. How do they come of age? These kids didn't get any sort of enlightenment or accomplishment. They're the protagonists that you will empathize with. IF this movie had a hero, it would be a true blue canine family member. But these kids were not so lucky. Many people can relate to this family regardless of who and what you are- and what your circumstances are. And it's actually a good idea to watch something like this to put it in perspective. I found the drama a little intense. I wish there was more better energy and sense of humor- but unfortunately, It's true to life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sometimes you just want to slap people silly.

    In a week when the rich and famous spend millions they consider tip money to get their kids prestigious degrees that they had no intention to work for (or work after), leaving behind far more qualified candidates who WERE willing to earn what they're worth, Showtime --- during their free preview weekend, thank you very much --- airs "Tribes of Palos Verdes", based on the book of the same name.

    It's actually a pretty watchable movie, with spectacular Palos Verdes scenery amid the surfing cliff-front peninsula of an insulated community that forbids apartments; fast-food joints, WalMart wear, and outer walls that go unpainted for more than 3 years.

    Maika Monroe, of 'It Follows" and currently seen in "Greta" --- picture the bland-faced youngest sister of Julia Stiles, Chloe Sevigny, and Brie Larson --- and Cody Fern are the teen twin brother and sister children of Jennifer Garner and Justin Kirk, owners of the blufftop, oceanfront home that enables Garner and the kids to while away the perfect sunny days aggressively doing absolutely nothing except surfing and bemoaning their trust-fund lives. No jobs. No education. No future plans.

    They're like Lori Loughlin's daughter, boasting on social media what she'll do at USC: "I don't think I'll spend much time at class, but I look forward to game days and parties."

    Kirk is an affluent heart-transplant surgeon who wooed Garner and the kids to move well out of their Michigan comfort zone and midwestern values to enjoy the daily-combed sand of the beach below and the manicured, deep green lawns while bemoaning the surfers whose surfboards flatten her ice plants and the roaring ocean waves that keep her awake at night.

    She is clearly a woman on the brink, refusing to wear makeup to compete with the Botox queen trophy wives at the Tennis Club (like Elisabeth Rohm from TV's "Law & Order") and ordering a greasy cheeseburger and fries when the Ladies Who Lunch for a living at her table order salads with dressing on the side.

    Her husband's welcome-to-California affair with a Real Housewrecker of Beverly Hills (Alicia Silverstone) sends her flying truly, madly, off the deep end, soon followed by her sensitive son (Fern), who makes up for her fleeting company and support by desperately seeking street cred from the much older, trespassing "bad boys" who rough up surfers who poach on their turf.

    When Fern's always-supportive sister, (Monroe) takes up with a new boyfriend (Silverstone's son), and Garner seeks to flee any reminders of her husband and his lifestyle, Fern feels abandoned, adrift next to the ocean, alone in a city of 10 million strangers, and suffers it in the worst way possible.

    The damning "regulations" of the town, spoken in voiceover by Monroe, properly bookend the movie, with a stunning final scene.

    The best part of the film, to me, is its score, with music from Adam Topol, Braden Miller, Ty Segall, Bahamas, Shannon Lay, and Jack Johnson.

    One gathers from "Tribes of Palos Verdes" that the author of the book, and the scripter couldn't wait to get the hell out of paradise. Then again, when you consider what most men most wish for: Wealth; fame; power; and a beautiful wife....which one man, who has all four, immediately comes to mind? Would you really want to be him?
  • The tale of a failed marriage. dysfunctional family and drug use are what greeted me on this already depressing winters day in Australia. This could have been an Aussie movie with it's deadpan lead actress (Monroe), deadbeat Dad, OTT Mum and drug stuffed brother. Overall a bit too realistic for my taste but I like the sea and there was plenty of that!
  • The Mason family has just moved from Michigan to the exclusive community of Palos Verdes, California. There's the noted heart surgeon father (Justin Kirk), the emotionally troubled mother (Jennifer Garner) and their extremely close twin siblings (Maika Monroe and Cody Fern).

    The film is narrated by Monroe's character Medina, as they all settle into their palatial home overlooking the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. However, all is not idyllic in this family, as we actually watch them deteriorate before our eyes.

    The acting is solid all around but I found the story led me on a depressive and mean-spirited slog, with the parents particularly despicable here as they manipulate their teenage kids for their own purposes no matter what the cost. Without giving too much away here, the cost will be very high.

    Overall, some may find this unrelenting melodrama to their liking but for me it was a difficult view and far from entertaining.
  • Strong performances from the core cast save this slow-moving and moody family affair from being irredeemably trite. You've seen this film before, but maybe not this cut of it. Echoing the aesthetic tone and much of the slower interstitial pacing of the 90s thriller Point Break, this coming of age divorce melodrama shines light on the emptiness of the idealised American Dream, showing that money most certainly does not always add richness to one's life. Shadows of evolving tribal bonds flicker on the walls - family, friends, allies, enemies. Who is which? Is blood thicker than water? Is loyalty more important than happiness? Can a morality tale masquerade as a post-modern narrative? Whatever the case may be, Palos Verdes somehow keeps the action, and the answers to these questions, somewhat detached and at arm's length. Despite the decent cast, none of the characters, through all their travails, are sufficiently compelling to be celebrated or mourned.

    Not great, but not bad. Worth a watch if you are hard up for something to fill 90 minutes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wasn't sure what to expect when I rented this movie. Didn't even hear about it at the movies and I dont have tv for commercial previews. I just know watching this young girl's family deteriorate before your eyes was so heartbreaking. The mom (Jennifer garner) has no clue as to how her emotionally erratic behavior is pushing everyone she loves away. To the point her surgeon husband wants to leave her for someone else. The only outlet the kids have to deal with the emotional drama is surfing and alcohol and drugs. Well, the latter for the son. He's the new head of the household the mom keeps screamingly reminding him. Crazy pressure on a teen, no wonder he sought out drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and what was going on, eventually leading to his ultimate demise. The parents were clueless on how their screaming and fighting and infidelity was affecting their own kids. They were truly unsatisfied family. It was heartbreaking to watch. Makes me take notice of my own 14 year old .... Good but heartbreaking movie.
  • This film tells the story of a seemingly perfect family falling apart.

    The portrayal of the family falling apart is very gripping and engaging. It feels very real as well. I find the film captivating. I feel very connected with the characters, and feel sorry for all their predicaments.
  • This film was pretty decent, average storyline, good actors, somewhat interesting characters, BUT the main part of the film that stood out to me was 100% Cody Ferns performance!

    He captured his character so well and did a terrific job at making the audience fall in love with his character, Jim and empathise with him to the point where all you want to do is wrap him up in a big blanket and give him the love he deserves!

    Overall the cast was great and the storyline felt so real and heartbreaking!

    If you're debating whether or not you want to watch it, do yourself a favour and do it for Cody Ferns astounding performance!
  • ferguson-630 November 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Greetings again from the darkness. Since there is always "trouble in paradise", perhaps living in paradise shouldn't even be a life goal. There are certainly less expensive ways to enjoy a nice view than relocating the family from the frozen Midwestern leisure of Michigan to the ultra-rich, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses hypocrisy of Palos Verdes. Joy Nicholson's 1997 book has been adapted for the screen by writer Karen Croner. Brothers Brendan Malloy and Emmett Malloy co- direct in what appears to be their feature film debut after 15 plus years of music-related videos, shorts and documentaries.

    The Masons move into a cliff-side mansion in Palos Verdes. The breathtaking Pacific Ocean view is supposed to offset the homogenized exclusive suburbia punctuated with manicured lawns, freshly painted homes, and close-minded wealthy folks. That works for Phil (Justin Kirk), the cardiologist who does see this as paradise and hopes his family will feel the same. His wife Sandy (Jennifer Garner) is struggling with depression, and their twin 16 year old kids Medina (Maika Monroe) and Jim (Cody Fern) are personality opposites … he being the popular kid, while she is a loner.

    Since we all know new curtains don't fix a broken window, the fractured family is soon on full display. The dysfunction came along as part of their relocation and much of this can be traced to Sandy's manic-depressive state. The stress-related fallout is ugly. Phil finds comfort in the arms of their Realtor (Alicia Silverstone), who scores a doctor to go along with her commission. This sends Sandy spiraling down the rabbit hole, as Jim starts experimenting with drugs, and Medina seeks peace on a surfboard that she procured through a most unusual negotiation.

    Most of the story is told from Medina's perspective, and Ms. Monroe excels. Her breakout role was a couple of years ago in IT FOLLOWS, and though she's a bit too old to play a 16 year old, she is so talented and relatable that to whatever extent the movie works for you, it's likely to be because of her. The way she handles the cold distance between she and her mother is heartbreaking, yet her sadness and frustration at being the only one recognizing the fall of brother Jim is truly devastating.

    The ultra-angst is sometimes a bit too heavy, as is the over-use of slow-motion and the intrusive indie music (as you might expect from music video directors). Many will hail Jennifer Garner's performance since it is so far removed from her usual grinning and lovable type, but I found her a bit too extreme and trying too hard. Despite these issues, the mystic draw of the sea makes perfect sense as Medina literally surfs the choppy waves of life. A threat of disaster is always on the cusp, and the filmmakers take full advantage of the contrasting beautiful setting. Finding our tribe is a key to life and we are privileged to follow along with rising star Maika Monroe's fabulous performance.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A wealthy family moves to Palos Verdes along the California coast when the father, a prominent heart surgeon, takes a new job to help the family start over after apparent infidelity issues. But he soon takes up with another woman, leaving his wife and twin 17 year old son and daughter in the lurch. The mother struggles with depression and mental illness, and the son falls into abusive drug use. The daughter narrates the film as the sole sane member of the disintegrating family. Surfing plays a minor role in this beautifully told and photographed film. It probably pairs nicely with Force Majeure (subtitles) simply because both films have a similar texture and deal with failed marriages.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When you find yourself not the favorite on a parent and the tool of another all the while losing touch with your twin brother, what else can you do while also dealing with the life of a teenager in a new pretentious town?
  • I felt a very strong revulsion for the sick, sick mother played by Jennifer Garner. There were no bright moments in this sad and pathetic scenario. Maika Monroe, as the daughter Medina, was fairly likable throughout but overall the film was depressing and aggravating. To the author of the review Monotonous: Nobody said "Leo Carrillo Beach". The reference was to Cabrillo Beach which IS roughly 15 miles from Palos Verdes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    To me the strongest message this movie sent was the devastating and dangerous consequences of undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness. The mother clearly suffers from manic depression and is seen throwing out her pills towards the beginning of the movie. Her behavior becomes more and more erratic and take a serious toll on the family in a number of ways.

    The son also is suffering from at least depression if not manic depression himself and fueled by a chaotic and unhappy home life chooses to self medicate through alcohol and drugs to a tragic end. No one in the family, not even his devoted sister was willing to take a honest look at his mental state. It speaks to the heartbreaking stigma out there surrounding mental health especially for males.

    This movie is far from perfectly executed and seems to lack focus but I still found value in it.
  • millythemonster3 December 2018
    Incredibly powerful and moving film. I don't usually get emotional watching movies but a day later and i still feel quite sad thinking about the ending. Cody fern stole the film for me and provided an incredible performance . I had a genuine dislike for Jennifer Garner in the movie and she also played the role extremely well . Very very sad and makes you think about the consequences of divorce and parents relying on their children for emotional support , ignoring their problems .
  • mamanash200331 December 2018
    An insight into bipolar disorder. Mom and son have it. Family doesn't know how to deal with it. Everyone tries to act normal. Such a deep movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is has some good points. At first it seem this might be some OC style affluent enclave drama by the sea but it's a bit more serious. A surgeon father brings his family to the exclusive Palos Verdes CA but soon after leaves his wife for his realtor. Jennifer Gardner acts well as the wife who loses it totally and depends too much on her teenage kids. She doesn't have that out of place perkiness that she usually has. Alicia Silverstone plays the other woman. There is a special bond between the brother and sister who are twins. She is a loner surfer type. He is a more easy going guy who unfortunately turns to drugs.

    This movie turned out to be quite unsettling maybe a bit too many things go wrong and the adults are just so hopeless with a totally selfish dad and a basket case mom.
  • I decided to watch this movie because I saw Cody Fern and when I see Cody Fern, I buy and watch. I thought it was just gonna be a fun drama movie but I was wrong. I grew very attached to the characters in a very short amount of time and cried 3 times during this movie. By the end, I was sobbing. I was just thinking about how it was all gonna be okay and then bam. I'll probably watch this like 10 more times before I start to get bored of it. New favorite (and least favorite) movie EVER. Lmao I'm crazy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I think the reviewer David Ferguson said it perfectly in his review, "Since there is always "trouble in paradise", perhaps living in paradise shouldn't even be a life goal." LOL - I frequently wonder the very same thing. I work in a family lawfirm in Manhattan Beach, CA. Over 30 years, I've met a lot of families, have seen their multi-million dollar homes, the way they make and spend their money, listen to them cry or complain about their infidelities, etc. This is just another sad story of a family going to s**t as the result of drugs, alcohol, abuse, infidelity, emotional issues. If you want to get sad or more depressed - watch this movie. If you want to be happy - watch a comedy or a movie about a family that works together through s**t - a man who is there for his wife and not running into another woman's arms (what happened to "through sickness and health"); parents taking charge and acting proactively in raising their kids (not leaving the child rearing to the nanny).
  • actorgal128 November 2018
    I often wonder when I labor through a terrible film, who approved this? This film is plodding, incredibly pedestrian and predictable. You knew what was going to happen to one of the characters about eight minutes into the film. Unfortunately, I kept watching. I now wonder, was it morbid curiousity? Or was part of me waiting for it to get better? When did Jennifer Garner become such a raving, out of control lunatic? First this ridiculous portrayal, who knew what she was doing in this one and now the same unlikability in her character in Camping? It is not effective, it is just annoying.

    If an actor is out of control and at 11 for the entire performance, where can they go? It just remains one note, not creative and definitely not watchable. There are so many problematic issues in the script and in the acting. ACTING 101, Don't play the problem, explore opposites. For God's sake, did you miss that day in class actors? Where have all the directors gone?

    The biggest problem for me is that the "children", and I use that term very loosely, are too old to have the reaction that they did to their father's choices. If they had been 12 or 13, at the height of adolescense, I would have beleived the extreme reactions of the son. There was never a big enough reason for the son't reaction and spiral down, not really. They barely touched the surface and just assumed that we would "get it". I hate that. That is LAZY filmmaking/writing and acting. These "children" as coddled as they were and entitled with money, position and being spoiled rotten, were still on the edge of adulthood and in this day of expendable marriages, the divorce should have not been treated as such a travesty. It is what it is, money, entitlement and selfishness make people do things that hurt others, we get that...next. Sorry, hopefully I will help save a few hours in someone else's life, I wish I could get the hours back that I wasted watching this dreary, dull, diatribe.
  • Leave Palos Verdes out of this, it's a movie about the devastation on children when their parents get divorced. The parents are selfish, self centered, immature, and they should never have had children. Emotionally ill, whatever you want to call the "mother," and hugely self-involved "father." All the more reason to practice birth control and save the horror of miserable, tortuous, hideous parenting on poor unsuspecting children. That's all I want to say.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ..in the plot description. In yet another showcase for Jennifer Garner, the husband doesn't give off the impression that he paid for his deeds. Too often, subtle words are used to describe his indiscretion. If he were black, it would be described as what it is..adultery. And he would suffer on screen. With a vengeance. And all the crew would go biblical on him. As it is, here, it's called a coming of age movie, a romance, and the rest of the family suffers the consequences. And the synopsis writer would shout separation of church and state if the script went biblical on the husband. The wife would be deemed a psycho because she acted like she was hurt by the husband's sin. Indeed the family does suffer in a situation like this but it is unrealistic for the husband to look as if he got away with something. There are instances where members of the family get back at Phil, but they are portrayed in such a manner, where it's up to the eye of the beholder/viewer of the film whether vengeful acts are committed, whereas, in films where the only black character of the film would be the Phil-type character, there would be no room for doubt about the vengeance. It cannot be pretended that race is not an issue in these type films as it is cleverly addressed in this one. You just have to find out where that is. It's a good film and a sad one.
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