Palmer goes into the impact that being in Jail can have on a man both socially and emotionally. While say coming home is a welcomed event, it can often be bittersweet. There’s certainly going to be anger over the lost years being locked away. Of course, you’ll have to handle the onslaught of whispers and side looks. Being in prison amounts to owning a “Scarlet Letter” in the eyes of the community. His grandmother played by June Squibb is quite gracious to Palmer. Next door to his grandmother is Shelly (Juno Temple) and her son (Ryder Allen) who become a part of Palmer’s new life. Shelly’s battling demons herself and soon exits this narrative without warning.Shelly’s son quickly becomes the focus of the film as Palmer has to begin looking out for him. One thing which certainly befuddled Timberlake’s character was his fascination with dolls. Of course, Palmer falls back into bad habits in the interest of defending the boy against all who would hate on him because of his love of what some have deemed “girl” toys. While Palmer is fine as a drama it’s far from perfect. Timberlake’s performance is almost too reserved when it called for a bit more compassion to be displayed at times. His portrayal plays into that whole emotionless convict trope.
Stevens’ direction and Tobias A. Schliessler’s cinematography were elements that stood out in the film. For me the highlight of the film was Ryder Allen’s portrayal of Sam. Allen brings such joy and innocence to the film and at times he comes across as appalled that anyone would even think these things about what he’s into. He like what he likes and what’s the big deal. Palmer certainly tackles this notion of Male masculinity. Plenty of people will enjoy the film, personally, I wish it could have been a bit deeper of a narrative.