I Believe in Unicorns

I Believe in Unicorns is a 2014 American independent coming-of-age romantic drama film written and directed by Leah Meyerhoff. The film stars Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Amy Seimetz and Toni Meyerhoff. The film was released on May 29, 2015, by Gravitas Ventures.

I Believe in Unicorns
I Believe in Unicorns poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLeah Meyerhoff
Produced byHeather Rae
Written byLeah Meyerhoff
StarringNatalia Dyer
Peter Vack
Julia Garner
Amy Seimetz
Toni Meyerhoff
Music bySasha Gordon
CinematographyJarin Blaschke
Edited byRebecca Laks
Michael Taylor
Animals on Parade
Distributed byGravitas Ventures
Release date
  • March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09) (SXSW)
  • May 29, 2015 (2015-05-29) (United States)
Running time
80 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States


Davina is a high school freshman from San Francisco. She lives with and takes care of her mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Her father is out of the picture, having abandoned her mother shortly after Davina was born.

Davina celebrates her 16th birthday by having a picnic at the park with her best friend, Cassidy, who gives her a camera as a birthday present. It is there at the park where Davina discovers Sterling, a punk who hangs out with his skateboarder friends at the park’s ramp. Davina develops a crush on Sterling and takes several photographs of him with her camera. Eventually, Sterling crosses paths with Davina and they introduce each other. Sterling requests that they meet again the next day at a street corner nearby the park. Davina grants his request.

Davina and Sterling spend the next day with each other. As they get to know each other, Davina learns from Sterling that he and his mother left his father as a result of him beating them. Davina and Sterling also confide in each other their mutual desire to be “anywhere but here.” That night, Sterling takes Davina to his abode, located in a slum. There they make out at first, but it gets passionate enough up to the point in which Davina performs fellatio on Sterling. Having lost her virginity, Davina throws up and then goes home. Davina realizes she has fallen in love with Sterling and confesses in private about her sexual episode to Cassidy.

The next evening, Davina returns to Sterling’s abode, where a rave is taking place. There, she reunites with Sterling and attempts to seduce him by kissing him and telling him that she missed him. However, Sterling rejects her and implies that their sexual encounter was a casual fling. Davina is heartbroken at first, but Sterling eventually apologizes to her and the two of them pursue a sexual relationship.

After contemplating for some time about being “anywhere but here,” Davina and Sterling make it official by leaving San Francisco and embarking on a road trip together. However, as the two of them spend more time together, they start to become truculent at each other, particularly when Davina compares Sterling to his father. At one point, Davina suggests that they head back to San Francisco, but Sterling feels intent that they carry on with their journey.

One night, Davina and Sterling spend the night squatting in a motel room. While playing around with each other in bed, Sterling suddenly gets angrily defensive towards Davina after she slaps him. He threatens her to never hit him again and assaults her as a warning. The next day, Davina and Sterling go to a barn where she tells him she wants to go home. Sterling, in response, suffers a mental breakdown and Davina attempts to comfort him out of guilt. They make out once more, but Sterling becomes violent and rapes Davina. Their relationship comes to an end and Davina returns home to her mother via a car ride from Cassidy.



The film premiered at SXSW on March 9, 2014.[1] The film was released on May 29, 2015, by Gravitas Ventures.[2]


Metacritic : 73/100[3]

Rotten Tomatoes : 88%[4]

The New York Times gave the film a positive review[5] :

"Stretched to 80 minutes, the story (by the director Leah Meyerhoff) almost breaks; that it holds together without compromising its simplicity or emotional authenticity only proves that, contrary to the maxim, you don’t need a gun if you’ve got the right girl."

— Jeannette Catsoulis (The New York Times)


  1. ^ a b Joe Leydon (2014-03-24). "'I Believe in Unicorns' Review: Leah Meyerhoff's Affecting Coming-of-Age Drama". Variety. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  2. ^ "I Believe in Unicorns Reviews". Metacritic. 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  3. ^ I Believe in Unicorns, retrieved 2019-03-11
  4. ^ I Believe in Unicorns (2015), retrieved 2019-03-11
  5. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (2015-05-28). "Review: In 'I Believe in Unicorns,' a Princess Meets Her Punk Prince Charming". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-11.

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