SXSW: Brett Gelman Searches For His Sanity in “Lemon”

Burn Later Productions

Isaac Lachmann (Brett Gelman) is a dud.  At 40, his career is going nowhere, his girlfriend of ten years (Judy Greer) is leaving him; and his overbearing family is taking a toll on his sanity. Isaac (Brett) fumbles in his efforts to bond with a well-connected actor (Michael Cera), and an attempt at romance with make-up artist Cleo (Nia Long).  Despite his efforts to connect Isaac finds himself immobilized by a world seemingly turning against him.

The premise feels a bit like the indie film Cyrus starring John C. Riley and Jonah Hill from a few years ago. Which is perfectly fine – because I really dug that film and this set of actors will bring something new to that scenario. It appears not only will it be new and fresh but a bit odd as well judging from the still we were provided.

Director Janicza Bravo (Award-winning short Gregory Go Boom, FX’s acclaimed series “Atlanta”) returns to SXSW with a stylized and intoxicatingly unique debut feature that promises to delight and unsettle in equal measure.  Bravo’s star and co-writer, Brett Gelman, unflinchingly explores what it means to truly unravel. Featuring impressive turns by a supporting cast including Michael Cera, Judy Greer, Nia Long, Martin Starr and Gillian Jacobs,
Lemon bursts with originality and announces the arrival of one of the most assured new directorial voices. As soon as we get a trailer we’ll be sure to post it!


“One  day  I  had  the  pleasure  of  waking  up  in  my  thirties.  I  noticed  a  dark  cloud  hanging  over  my  head  and  a  crushing  sensation  in  my  chest.  Most  of  what  I  had  imagined  or  seen  for  myself  had  yet  to  materialize.  The  only  things  that  I  had  were  a  pit  in  my  stomach  and  a  ball  in  my  throat.
With  that  as  my  new  starting  point,  I  plunged  head  first  into  an  abyss. LEMON  is a pure  manifestation  of  my  greatest  fear;  arriving  at  a  life  or  an  end  meant  for someone  else.  You’re  supposed  to  be  the  hero  of  your  own  life  but  what  do  you  do if  aren’t  born  with  the  tools?
I  thought  I  deserved  certain  things.  I  felt  like  I’d  been  handed  a  fair  amount  of suffering  that  I  had  done  a  great  job  of  getting  through.  I  felt  I’d  put  in  plenty  of days  and  hours  into  my  craft  and  nothing  worthwhile  was  presenting  itself.  LEMON  was  birthed  out  of  a  deep  frustration.

-­‐‑ Janicza  Bravo

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