‘The Tribes of Palos Verdes‘ is a 2017 American coming-of-age drama film, based upon the novel of the same name by Joy Nicholson. This film is directed by Emmett Malloy and Brendan Malloy and stars Jennifer Garner, Justin Kirk, Elisabeth Rohm, Goran Visnjic, Joely Fisher and Alicia Silverstone.
The film centers around the lives of the Mason family who move to Palos Verdes, an affluent, coastal suburb of Los Angeles, looking for better lives. But they soon discover that a picture-perfect lifestyle is beyond the bounds of possibility. Even though Palos Verdes looks like a little slice of paradise with its beautiful beaches and clay tile roofs, the family realizes that it’s a paradise that’s carefully maintained by luxury and ostracism, where the city ensures that only the right people have access to its natural and manmade splendors.
When the Mason family settles to the idyllic city, the father, Phil Mason (Kirk), loves it as his medical practice begins to thrive, which allows him to cope well with the family’s move from Michigan. But his wife, Sandy (Jennifer Garner), has a tough time fitting into the affluent beach community and feels out of place among the fake tans and tennis skirts, putting a strain on the marriage.
Phil and Sandy’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Medina Mason (Maika Monroe), enjoys Palos Verdes ample opportunities for surfing but otherwise finds her new home stultifying. Deliberately anti-social, she is a loner and outcast at school and has only one friend: her charismatic twin brother, Jim (Cody Fern), who unlike her is effortlessly popular. When Medina and Jim take up surfing, they must prove their right to share the waves with the tough Bayboys gang that monopolizes their stretch of beach.
Her mother also feels like an outsider, unable to fit in with the prim-and-proper women at the country club, and it seems that only Medina’s cardiologist father, likes Palos Verdes without reservation. In fact, he seems to have taken to the area so well that he leaves his family for a local real estate agent. After the father’s (Justin Kirk) admission that he’s fallen for another woman, the rest of the family sets off to a downward spiral. Sandy falls into manic depression, Jim starts abusing drugs, and Medina finds an escape in surfing. Alicia Silverstone, Elisabeth Rohm and Goran Visnjic co-star in the feature. Caught in the middle of it all, Medina must rely on her inner strength to become the stabilizing force in her family, while finding refuge in her newly found passion.
‘Tribes of Palos Verdes’ is loosely based on Lunada Bay Boys. The film’s backstory resembles the saga of the so-called Lunada Bay Boys, a notorious group of surfers accused of using violence and other means to keep outsiders from their surf spots in Palos Verdes. Goran Visnjic appears in the film as Joe.