Saturday, October 2, 2010

Short Review: The Tree (Julie Bertucelli, 2010)

Endowed with beautiful and often soothing visuals, this heartfelt Australian drama about a widow, Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and her children struggling to stay united following the shock death of their husband/father, falls a bit flat and is ultimately unsatisfying and forgettable. Dawn's daughter Simone finds comfort within the branches of the large fig tree that stands over their house and property, imagining that her father's soul has returned inside the tree allowing her to speak to him when sitting within the branches. She shares this secret with her mother and adorns the tree with family treasures. But amidst her grief, the daily challenge of managing her children and now having to look for income, Dawn struggles to keep her family together. When she meets George and begins working for him at his plumbing store, Simone grows angry at her sudden happiness, and seemingly so does the spirit of her husband. The tree begins to die due to a worsening drought; branches fall off in the night and destroy walls of the house and the roots beneath to burrow beneath the houses foundations. When a fierce cyclone hits their lives are ultimately changed forever. The Tree was filmed in Boonbah in Queensland, Australia and closed the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It's a nice little film, but the script suffers and never really goes anywhere. I was impressed with the performance of young Morgana Davies, however.

My Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

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