Dear Lemon Lima Review
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Film festivals are like a box of chocolates: an exciting assortment of treats that often hide surprise centers. Until you take a bite, you’ll never know what’s inside. You could get some slimy, gooey jelly or a smooth, chewy nougat—or you could end up with a nutty surprise like writer/director Suzi Yoonessi’s teen comedy, Dear Lemon Lima.

Thanks to her half-Eskimo heritage, Vanessa Lemor (Savanah Wiltfong) is able to get a scholarship to the prestigious Nichols School in Fairbanks, Alaska. But her acceptance to Nichols is bittersweet—because she originally applied so she could be closer to Philip (Shayne Topp), her rich, pompous boyfriend, who ended up dumping her over the summer.

Now, Vanessa’s on her own—an outsider at her new school. So when she’s randomly selected to be a team captain in the school’s annual Snowstorm Survivor competition, Vanessa sees it as her chance to win Philip back. But she’s got an uphill battle ahead—especially since she’s selected the school’s biggest losers as her team.

Filled with wonderfully eccentric characters portrayed by a talented young cast, Dear Lemon Lima is a delightfully quirky outsider comedy. Just think of it as Juno’s less sarcastic little sister. While the story is somewhat predictable (aside from one unexpectedly grim twist, which you definitely won’t see coming), the script is clever and imaginative, written with a sharp sense of humor.

If you’ve ever felt different—or even just a little bit uncool—you’ll be able to relate to the plight of the school’s lovable outcasts (not-so-affectionately known by their classmates as the FUBARs). Vanessa is absolutely adorable—flighty and naïve, yet completely unique. She’s sweet but spunky—and although she wants nothing more than to make smug, condescending Philip proud of her, she’s still able to embrace her own differences (and those of her geeky new friends).

The supporting characters, too, are all oddly endearing—from poor little Hercules (Zane Huett), whose old-fashioned parents eagerly encourage him to join the rifle club, to the quiet girl from the Amigone Funeral Home, who plays the Theremin and announces that she’s legally changing her name to Nothing (Maia Lee). Whether they’re suffering from fibromyalgia or insistent that Sean “Diddy” Combs is their father, each of the characters has an unusual character trait or two. And even Philip, who acts more like a middle-aged attorney than a high school student, is fun to watch—because he’s just so good at being a pretentious jerk.

Granted, it’s all a bit bizarre (and, sometimes, it’s completely, hilariously over-the-top), but this whimsical teen indie explores (and often exaggerates) the ups and downs of high school (and life in general) in the most amusing of ways. Whether you’re 14 or 45, Dear Lemon Lima is well worth a taste. If it’s coming to a film festival, an indie theater, or a video store near you, don’t miss it.

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