Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by
Though the story was written almost two decades ago, it’s a microcosm for the kind of wall-building mentality that has taken hold of the mainstream today, and the Malloy brothers achieve a kind of tragic poetry that sticks with those who make it a point to seek this one out.
There’s a compactness to it all that I appreciate (“Big Little Lies” had more incidents, but like all limited-run cable series, the story drips out like molasses in winter). But the story and story arc here are truncated and can leave the viewer still-interested and somewhat dissatisfied when all is said and done.
The directors and screenwriter Karen Croner are attuned to the different ways that Phil and Sandy selfishly draw their kids deeper into the domestic mess.
Village Voice
Garner erupts and expectorates with winning zeal.
The Malloys’ filmmaking never rises to the level of the actors’ nuanced performances. The actors are energized, but the camera enervates.
The acting is good all around but that, too, improves in the quieter moments. Monroe, best known for her work in “It Follows,” is tough and committed, and Jennifer Garner’s portrayal of a mad housewife sprinting to a meltdown is acute, even if its does require her to tamp down pretty much all of her engaging life-positive qualities.
It’s a gorgeous-looking, sensitively edited film to be sure, but never finds a dramatic foothold, no matter how many manic arguments and drug overdoses it throws our way.
The directors get some melancholic atmosphere out of their visuals but don’t have the scene sense to build their actors’ committed performances into compelling through-lines of seaside personality disintegration.
Slant Magazine
The unvaried register of the filmmaking leads the narrative to feel aimless and dramatically inert.
The Playlist
The Tribes of Palos Verdes privileges melodrama over nuance, pitting skilled actors against a humdrum script and sketchy roles. It doesn’t offer anything new, and bungles any mildly interesting plot points.

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