Lymelife ¬ DVD

Set in late-1970s Syosset, Long Island, New York, Lymelife follows two families who crumble when tangled relationships, real estate problems and Lyme disease converge in the heart of suburbia.

Fifteen-year-old Scott Bartlett is a gentle boy, radically different from his blustery father Mickey and tightly wired mother Brenda. An outbreak of Lyme disease, as well as the accompanying paranoia, hits their suburban community hard. When the Bartletts’ neighbor Charlie Bragg is diagnosed with the illness, Brenda calms her fears by duct-taping Scott’s cuffs shut.

Despite the onset of this mysterious ailment, the two families are quite busy. Since Charlie is unable to work, his wife Melissa must keep the income flowing herself. She is hired by Mickey, who is the developer of an enormous subdivision, and though this gesture is a friendly favor, it is also partially motivated by lust. Mickey’s history of philandering is one of the many things upsetting his wife Brenda, who yearns for the comfort of their old neighborhood in Queens.

And growing up amid this marital cocktail is Scott, who has been in love with the Braggs’ one year-older daughter Adrianna for all of his young life.

The news both good and bad is that she is starting to return his interest.

Things heat up when Jimmy, Scott’s older brother, comes home from the army on their mom’s birthday. It has been a year since Scott found condoms under their bed, and even the comfort of her sons’ presence doesn’t seem to overcome the shame and nervousness the failing marriage is causing her.

Scott thinks she is crazy, but Jimmy knows the full story, and is the only one who treats her lovingly. Scott has developed the same behaviors toward her shown by the frustrated but also guilty father.

However, this is soon to end, since the not-well-kept secret comes out, when simultaneously each member of both families goes through a realization through either personal observation or pushed to notice what they were blocking out by one of the others. Finally, in an uncomfortable scene to watch, Brenda leaves early from Jimmy’s going-away party, when it is clear from the way the couple is drunkenly dancing, that there is a relationship occurring in front of their faces.

Jimmy and Mickey have a confrontation that shows the audience how mature Jimmy had to become to overcome growing up with such a child for a father.

But circumstances shift when Scott learns of the affair and confronts his mother. He also has done a good bit of growing, and Adrianna helps him through this, but shuns him after a rumor spread from a lie he tells a friend after she gets serious with an older boy. Once Brenda can no longer look the other way, she kicks Mickey out of the house, and he moves in next door where he has been building a larger, more modern house for the family.

Once this occurs, Brenda is once again able to act the role of an effective parent, at one point driving Scott to the house of a boy he just beat up, who had attacked him earlier, but stopped when Jimmy retaliated on Scott’s behalf, to apologize. Scott is suspended from school for a week, and his mother takes him to his father’s house so they can join forces in this crisis, but Mickey turns the conversation into an opportunity to vent his own continued anger toward her.

Charlie also confronts Mickey after he witnesses the affair firsthand, since he has been spending days in the basement, while his wife believes he is in Manhattan on job interviews. He is obsessed with hunting deer, though he has not done so for two full years. Scott often comes across him in the woods between their houses shooting targets, and they have a good relationship, one of the only ones Charlie is able to maintain throughout his illness. When his wife finds out that he has been letting her earn the family’s keep, she packs to leave, in the final scene which occurs the morning after Scott’s confirmation, where he and Adrianna reconnect.

Brenda and Mickey also reconcile that night, and the following morning, Mickey is hanging a for sale sign at the new house when Scott and Adrianna get on the school bus. Meanwhile Charlie is in the woods with his rifle, which he abruptly pulls out during the confrontation by his wife. The movie ends with a shot heard, and it is unclear what the implication of it was, but the closing credits roll with a song playing that declares this is the perfect ending, to what could possibly have been a perfect story.

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