Although evocative and nicely observed, the coming-of-age drama “Yosemite” ultimately proves too low-key and elliptical to make much of an impression. “Stand by Me” it ain’t.
Set in Northern California in 1985, the film was written and directed by Gabrielle Demeestere, largely based on two short stories from James Franco’s 2013 book “A California Childhood.” The script is divided into three overlapping chapters, each focusing on one of three Palo Alto fifth-grade friends — Chris (Everett Meckler), Joe (Alec Mansky) and Ted (Calum John) — as a mountain lion is reportedly roaming their community. The symbolism of this predatory feline is as elusive as the cat itself.
Performances are naturalistic and engaging, with period references to nascent Internet use and the future of mobile phones subtly, amusingly incorporated.
— Gary Goldstein
“Yosemite.” MPAA rating: R, for some sexual material, nudity and language. Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes. Playing: Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills.