‘Palmer’ review: Justin Timberlake shows off his dramatic side in a big-hearted Apple movie

Timberlake’s Eddie Palmer was a high-school football star, whose bad judgment landed him a 12-year jail sentence. Going back to his house town in Louisiana, he resides with his grandmother (June Squibb) and has a hard time to discover work, lastly landing a janitor’s job at the regional school.

The town is “still all about church and football,” he’s advised, that makes life even harder on the abovementioned kid, Sam (splendidly played by Ryder Allen), a victim of continuous bullying due to the fact that of his nonconforming gender identity. Additionally, his addict mom (Juno Temple) deserts him, leaving the taciturn Palmer as his not likely overseer, with a little assistance from the kid’s caring instructor (“Raising Dion’s” Alisha Wainwright).

Pictures of the married Timberlake holding hands with Wainwright triggered a little a tabloid furor in 2019, which is either a marketing benefit for such a decently scaled motion picture, an unwanted diversion or a little of both.

Setting those extracurricular issues aside, “Palmer” obtains a peaceful strength from its efficiencies and the narrative arc of the title character, who goes from snapping, “You know you’re a boy, right?” at Sam when he plays with dolls to ending up being figured out to safeguard him, even if that implies making sacrifices and possibly threatening his recently acquired liberty.

Timberlake has actually played remarkable functions prior to (see “The Social Network”), however this starring car however seems like an action up in class and aspiration, and he’s rather persuading as a person with the hollowed-out appearance of somebody haunted by remorse, who had actually the future set out for him — with a football scholarship to LSU — prior to hindering his life.

Directed by star and documentarian Fisher Stevens, “Palmer” definitely does not break any ground, however its easy story is sensitively informed. As streaming services like Apple’s venture to stick out from the crowd, promoting this sort of rewarding little motion picture looks like as excellent a method as any to get some additional bang for their dollars.

“Palmer” premieres Jan. 29 on Apple TELEVISION+. It’s ranked R.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.