23 March 2010 | Thistle-3
Celebrating the Quirky Kids
Dear Lemon Lima is a film written and directed by Suzi Yoonessi. It's about a 13 year old girl in Alaska, getting ready to attend an exclusive private high school. From the very beginning, the film charms you, with adorable animation and graphics in the frame. They're images that the main character, Vanessa, uses in her doodles and artwork and scrapbooking. The tone is whimsical, and with so many interesting and unique characters in Vanessa's life, it's easy to let your guard down and get drawn into the fun.
But, do not be fooled. High school is a very serious and scary place. People are cruel to one another. Life is cruel, even if you're a brilliant, sensitive, beautiful girl. And, Vanessa soon finds that her dreams and aspirations might not be the path she will ultimately choose. Melissa Leo, Beth Grant and Eleanor Hutchins are all excellent, as some of the adults in Vanessa's life. But, if the kids aren't believable and worthy of our concern, the film doesn't work. Here, Savanah Wiltfong and the actors and actresses who play her schoolmates capture the joy and pain of teen years perfectly. I saw someone describe it as Napoleon Dynamite meets Juno. There are parallels. The dialogue is smart, the characters are quirky. The scenery is fantastic. The Nichols School is actually in Buffalo. This film is excellent. Dear Lemon Lima gets a 10.