Lemon Tree is writer-director Rachel Walden’s second short film. The drama starts at a Halloween carnival where a young boy (Gordon Rocks) is having fun on the rides. The Son and his Dad (Charlie Chaspooley Robinson) then decide to play one of the games offered. Even though the child guesses wrong, the father ensures he still gets the prize: an actual bunny to have as a pet.
After the family nicks the animal, they leave the fairgrounds. The Son is enamored with his new pet, though Dad’s more interested in the theft than the logistics of caring for either living being in his charge. Will Dad rise to the occasion, or is Son in for another heartbreaking moment in a string of them at the hands of his father?
“…Dad’s more interested in the theft than the logistics of caring for either living being in his charge.”
Lemon Tree starts frenzied, even a little manic. The first few minutes of this 17-minute title perfectly capture the carefree attitude of the young protagonist. As reality settles back in, the editing and camera work become less chaotic and more still. It is a wonderful way to highlight the issues the unnamed child is wrestling with.
Rocks realistically conveys a wide range of emotions. Robinson makes audiences distrust the father from the first words out of his mouth. The two play well off each other, especially in the last scene, which is heartbreaking.
Lemon Tree is an excellently mounted short that shows off the director’s intrinsic skills. Walden uses cinematography to help convey the main character’s emotional state, which makes this a far more visual experience than the dramatic premise might suggest. The actors are great, and the ending will stick with viewers.
For more information, visit the official Lemon Tree site.