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Sidewalk Review: Dear Lemon Lima

September 29, 2009


Suzi Yoonessi chose to expand her successful short film of 2007 into her first feature length narrative, Dear Lemon Lima, which follows the story of 13-year-old Vanessa Lemor in Fairbanks, Alaska as she experiences her first break up and struggles with her identity.

Determined to get the boy, Phillip, back, she follows him to his prep school where his family has pulled some strings to get her a minority scholarship for her half Yup’ik side. But her boyfriend has shrugged off his nerdy side and is working his way into the “in” crowd, leaving Vanessa to struggle with being a FUBAR (really didn’t think people still used this term but it is used extensively throughout this film).

While the film struggles in the beginning with its syrupy sweet tone, Yoonessi leads us into much darker and more coming-of-age territory in the second half where Vanessa attempts to climb the social ladder by leaving the misfit team to win the World Eskimo Indian Olympics at her school.

Vanessa grows from a child living a fantasy world to a mature teenager making strong and kind choices, but along the way she must suffer from real loss. Having to grow up by learning how to overcome pain and suffering but also learning lessons of leadership and being true to your self all blend together nicely into a nice feature for pre-teens.

The stand out performance from Zane Huett (Desperate Housewives) will capture your heart. Parents play an odd role in the film and are seen from a pre-teen perspective more than fleshed out real characters. However, the world surrounding Vanessa is always from her view, so the oddness fits along with the bunnies and ice cream cone drawings.

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