Dear Zoe is an unfortunate case of having great idea but not doing nearly enough with them, Sadie Sink gives a fantastic performance that really shows why she’s one of the most interesting new actresses, Theo Rossi isn’t too bad either he gives a decent performance that does bring heart into the movie. The father and daughter bond that Nick (Theo Rossi) and Tess (Sadie Sink) have really works and actually leads to some emotional moments. What holds the movie back is it not elaborating on it’s themes, the main theme is grief and trauma having to move on from an accident. Which in this case is Tess trying to cope with losing her little sister Zoe (Mackenzie Noel Rusiewicz) who was hit by a car on 9/11. The movie is also a coming of age story unfortunately not a very special one, the movie is very surface level when it comes to grief, it shows flashbacks and eventually what led up to Zoe’s death but that’s really about it. It’s very bare bones storytelling that has a script that really doesn’t add anything to the conversation, there’s plenty of films out there about healing that go in far more depth than this one. Sink and Rossi are able to nail down the many emotions the movie has, but unfortunately when it comes to everyone else there is so much lacking. We aren’t given a whole lot about Jimmy (Kweku Collins) other than his mother died, the movie clearly wants to connect Jimmy and Tess together but the chemistry is just not there. Collins really tries his hardest with the script he’s given but unfortunately he’s restricted to being a love interest which leads to a lot of young adult romance cliches. Overall Dear Zoe is disappointing, there was a lot of potential here to tell such an emotional and powerful story, but the lack of depth of the themes and characters really hold this back from being anything other than a below average coming of age story.
Dear Zoe is available on all VOD platforms.