Movie Review: ‘Asleep In My Palm’

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Featured Post, Movie Reviews, Movies | 0 comments

Greetings again from the darkness. The extreme political divisions that exist in the United States today are well-documented and often discussed. The first feature from writer-director Henry Nelson eschews politics and instead looks at class differences – and even deeper into the role of human connections and family bonds. As a new filmmaker, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an incredible actor as your dad, especially one willing to dive headfirst into the lead role of your gritty and intimate drama.

Tim Blake Nelson has evolved into a must-see actor. He manages to make each role his own, whether in support (O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, 2000) or as the lead (OLD HENRY, 2021). Here he stars as the bearded father to 16-year-old Beth Ann (an outstanding Chloe Kerwin, “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel”). When we first see them, dad is telling a creative bedtime version of Chicken Little to his daughter, complete with frequent blue language. A short while later we see the two are living in a storage unit, about as far off the grid as a father-daughter can get.

During the initial Chicken Little story, dad says, “everybody has a breaking point”. We know immediately that this is foreshadowing as well as an explanation for what has already happened. We quickly bond with father and daughter, although dad is often a bit prickly, an attribute we chalk up to PTSD. What we don’t doubt is his commitment to Beth Ann and his need to protect her from outside forces, aka society. Dad doesn’t talk much about himself or his past, but he frequently serves up lessons, often based on religion, that are meant to convince their way is the only way.

An occurrence with his partner in crime (Jared Abrahamson) becomes a way forward, but at the same time, Beth Ann is exposed to some of the students at a nearby college and becomes intrigued by Millah (a memorable Gus Birney). As viewers we are forced to consider the effects of isolation, loneliness, parental judgement, and teenage curiosity … both before and after the film’s excellent twist that few will see coming. Not only is this a nice showcase for Tim Blake Nelson, Chloe Kerwin, and Gus Birney, it’s also a solid debut from writer-director Henry Nelson.

In theaters on March 1, 2024, on VOD March 19, and streaming April 19.

David Ferguson
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