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The exquisite Charlotte Gainsbourg stars in Julie Bertuccelli s achingly beautiful follow-up to her sleeper hit Since Otar Left. Closing Night Film at Cannes in 2010, The Tree is a mystical drama of loss and rebirth in the Australian countryside. Not since classic 1970s works Picnic at Hanging Rock and Walkabout has the harshly gorgeous outback landscape been such a lyrical yet foreboding metaphor for grief and coming of age.
Blindsided with anguish after her husband s sudden death, Dawn (Gainsbourg) along with her four young children struggles to make sense of life without him. Eight-year-old Simone (unforgettable newcomer Morgana Davies) becomes convinced that her father is whispering to her through the leaves of the gargantuan fig tree that towers over their house. The family is initially comforted by its presence, but then the tree s enormous roots slowly begin to encroach on the abode and threaten their fragile existence...
DVD Special Features Include:
Beautiful high-definition transfer, enhanced for widescreen viewing
In the Shadow of The Tree : A 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary
Nine deleted scenes
U.S. theatrical trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired (SDH)
A family of six lives happily in rural Queensland until tragedy strikes in Julie Bertuccelli's understated drama. One day, Peter (Aden Young), a truck driver, suffers a stroke and crashes into the massive fig tree overlooking his house. Afterward, Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg), his widow, sinks into a depression, while 8-year-old daughter Simone (Morgana Davies) believes he's speaking to her through the tree. As Simone tells a friend, "You have a choice to be happy or sad, and I chose to be happy," but nature encroaches on their living quarters through clusters of frogs and other strange phenomena, so Dawn seeks assistance from George (The Debt's Marton Csokas), a plumbing supply salesman, which leads to a job as his bookkeeper--and potential lover. In the process of clearing out the critters, George notices roots growing into the building's foundation. Further damage transforms the property into a danger zone, leading to a showdown between Dawn, who wants to cut down the tree, and Simone, who clings to it for emotional support. If Peter has truly taken possession of the thing, he seems resistant to let them go. Like Peter Weir's The Last Wave, Bertuccelli's adaptation of Judy Pascoe's Our Father Who Art in the Tree taps into a tradition of earthy Australian parables that don't explain all their mysteries. If it doesn't cut as deep, the former documentarian handily keeps cliché and manipulation at bay. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
Helping her out are fantastic performances by the youths playing her four children. If only child actors were always this good. In particular, Morgana Davies, who is by all rights the co-star of the film, plays her character with an impressive balance of little girl toughness and vulnerability. We learn about her relationship with her father far more by her relationship with the titular tree than her interactions with the actual character for the short time he's in the film.
The location is gorgeous, showing off a very beautiful area of Australia that is almost a character in itself. Be warned, though, that this is a slice-of-life drama, small in scope, but big in emotion. If that sounds boring to you, it will be. Otherwise, this is a film with a surprisingly hopeful and bright message, despite its main theme being grief, without being saccharine or hammering you over the head with it. I was very satisfied and would like to see more like this.
After 1 hour and 10 minutes of nearly no movement in the story line, they decided to move it along. During her greiving the mother had unmarried sex and they showed way more of this than should ever be shown. The swearing intensified. Then, the movie was over. I wasted an 1h 40m of my life.