27 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Fisher Stevens, Apple TV+.

Getting out of prison usually means not everything can go back to normal. Adjusting to life on the outside is not going to be easy.

That was the case with former high school football star Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake, Trouble with the Curve, The Social Network, Friends with Benefits) who went from hometown hero to convicted felon, earning himself 12 years in a state penitentiary.

When he’s finally free, he returns home to Louisiana, and it certainly doesn’t seem the same after so long away — especially as neighbours are more likely to whisper behind your back than greet you. When no one wants to give him a second chance how can he even get a job?

It’s a grim reality as Palmer circumnavigates while reuniting with his considerate grandmother, Vivian (June Squibb) and old childhood friends. She’s the grandmother who raised him and is unreserved in her support of seven-year-old Sam Burdette (Ryder Allen). Living next door is Shelly (Juno Temple) and Sam is her young, neglected son who, soon, becomes a part of Palmer’s new life.

Shelly is a troubled woman struggling with addiction, and it’s not long before she leaves home, without any word on when or if she will return. After her latest disappearance, Sam comes to live with Vivian.
At first, Palmer reluctantly accepts the new roommate sleeping in their living room. He tries to figure out the little boy’s fascination with princesses and fairies. He also doesn’t want Sam to be picked on at school and begins to defend him against bullies. Life improves for Palmer, and a romance develops between him and Sam’s teacher Maggie Hayes (Alisha Wainwright). An inspiring and unexpected journey unfolds for the three of them.

Actor and director Fisher Stevens (Early Edition, Stand Up Guys, Super Mario Bros.) has delivered a gentle drama. Palmer works because of the father-son bond that forms between the two.

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