The Tribes of Palos Verdes 2017 Movie Review Trailer

They moved there to pursue her dad’s dream, to be a rich cardiologist serving the wealth of California.

The Tribes of Palos Verdes 2017

“I always said we’d move to paradise,” he reassured the family. And look where they ended up — in seaside Palos Verdes, in a clifftop mansion overlooking the Pacific surf.

But there was trouble before they arrived in paradise, our teen narrator, Medina (Maika Monroe of “It Follows”) tells us. She was 16 and “already in trouble in school.” She’s entirely too attached to her more sociable twin brother Jim (Cody Fern).

The Tribes of Palos Verdes 2017 Movie Review Trailer

They need to find their place here. That title, “The Tribes of Palos Verdes,” suggests where that place is.

And Mom( Jennifer Garner)? She’s so thrown off-balance by this adjustment from heartland Michigan to a rich, rigid “ladies who lunch” world that we know that keeping her on an even keel should have been a family priority all along. Not that her flirtatious, follow-his-bliss husband (Justin Kirk of “Weeds”) cares about that.


This setting and set-up, based on a Karen Croner (“Admission,””One True Thing”) script, plays like “Big Little Lies Lite,” a more narrowly-focused melodrama about a family in crisis, a disaster waiting to happen.

In the Monterrey-set TV show “Lies,” there’s rivalry, social striving, painful personal history and eventually murder to sort out. Here, we wonder who will snap first and who will fall the furthest.

That could be literal, as music video directors turned feature filmmakers Brendan and Emmett Malloy treat us to ominous shots looking down those cliffs to the ever-pounding sea.

But in a metaphoric sense, it is the mother we fear for and fear. Garner delivers one of her finest performances as a manic depressive with “black hole moods” on her bad days. She taps into something deep and dark in playing a broken, brittle woman whose paranoia about her roaming husband and the isolation he’s hurled her into is well-placed. Sandy veers between conciliatory and unhinged, and their epic fights — at home and in public — rattle their kids, and us.

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The Tribes of Palos Verdes 2017 Movie Review Trailer

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