A Well-Meaning Moral for Tween Girls in Dear Lemon Lima
Thanks in part to her half-Eskimo heritage, brainy freshman Vanessa (Savanah Wiltfong) lands a scholarship at an exclusive public high school, where she finds herself unexpectedly ostracized by the blond, athletics-obsessed student body. Why does God hate me so much? she asks her diary, which she addresses to presumed imaginary friend Lemon Lima. Shes not just being paranoid: The school banishes the physically unfit to a dungeon weight room, where Vanessa bonds with her fellow outcasts. And there is a vague air of racism in the community. (A classmates father implies that the native girl will grow up to be some kind of freak: Its in the genes, and theres no changing the chromosomes.) Vanessa is reluctant to be defined by ethnicity, and refreshingly, Dear Lemon Lima works that reluctance into an anti-stereotyping argument. But the script gets mired in cliché, and the Sanrio-esque production design defines cute overload. Still, Limas Be yourself, and youll eventually find your tribe moral is so well-meaning that we might as well be generous and grade on a curveits more appealing than anything Hollywood has recently offered the eight- to 13-year-old female demographic.
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