Palmer is a 2021 American drama film directed by Fisher Stevens and written by Cheryl Guerriero. It stars Justin Timberlake as a former college football star, now an ex-convict, who starts to mentor and slowly become a father-figure to a young boy (Ryder Allen); Alisha Wainwright, June Squibb, and Juno Temple also star. It was digitally released by Apple TV+ on January 29, 2021. The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances and themes though noted its familiarity.
Former high school football star Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake) went from hometown hero to convicted felon, earning himself 12 years in a state penitentiary. He returns home to Louisiana, where he moves back in with Vivian (June Squibb), the grandmother who raised him. While trying to keep his head down and rebuild a quiet life for himself, Palmer is haunted by memories of his glory days and the suspicious eyes of his small town community. Things become more complicated when Vivian’s hard-living neighbor Shelly (Juno Temple) disappears on a prolonged bender, leaving her precocious and unique 7-year-old son Sam (Ryder Allen), often the target of bullying, in Palmer’s reluctant care. In time, Palmer is drawn into a more hopeful world as he forges a connection with Sam through their shared experience of being made to feel different by those around them. Life improves for Palmer, and a romance develops between him and Sam’s teacher Maggie (Alisha Wainwright). An inspiring and unexpected journey unfolds for the three of them, but soon Palmer’s past threatens to tear apart this new life.
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