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The Tree

3.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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)

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies, Marton Csokas
  • Directors: Julie Bertuccelli
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HP2J48
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,867 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Calvert on December 24, 2012
Format: DVD
The actual tree in this film is impressive. The Swiss Family Robinson could not have found a better tree! The cinematography is gorgeous. The 8 year old daughter is an old soul who steals the film. The mother, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, is a character we see grow and develop 180 degrees from dysfunctional grieving spouse and mother of 4 children, to branching out and obtaining her first job, to dating again with all the complexities of being a single mother, to ultimately dealing with a calamity that I will not reveal further...

I absolutely loved this film. Just roll with it. What's the harm in having such an incredible magnificent giant of a tree also be one of the main characters? I never got tired of seeing that tree. Or how each member of the family interacted with it. An understated gem of a film.
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Format: DVD
This is the second feature film by director Julie Bertuccelli, whose featurefkilm debut was a touching drama "Since Otar Left." It took about seven years for the director to make another feature film, a French-Australian production "The Tree." Based on Judy Pascoe's book "Our Father Who Art in The Tree," her sophomore feature follows the story of a family the O'Neil's living in a small Australian country town. Everything of their peaceful life changes when their father Peter (Aden Young) suddenly dies, leaving his wife Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg) shocked and devastated.

But one of their children, 8-year-old daughter Simone (Morgana Davies), believes that their father still dwells in the huge tree in the backyard. And it seems her strong belief is not entirely groundless as the tree is an unusual one, full of life, as if encroaching into their house.

The film's half-allegorical story is based on an interesting premise about the tree that triggers the mother-daughter conflict. Things get melodramatic when a male character enters: George Elrick (Marton Csokas), Dawn's employer who is romantically attracted to Dawn. Csokas and Gainsbourg did fine jobs, and so did the tree of the title, integral part of the film.

Unfortunately the film in its final act drops the ball in its handling of the narrative, not knowing what story to tell. That the metaphor (if any) of the tree is open to interpretation is fine with me. But the film's weak conclusion is something else. The story about Dawn's conflict and Simone's pains is resolved in a neat but convenient way. In fact, Simone is virtually forgotten at the end as if the director does not know what to do with the character.

See for then 7-year-old amazing Morgana Davies, whose complicated character is much more interesting than the overwrought symbolism of the beautifully-shot but somewhat unfocused film.
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I must admit first off that I am a huge fan of Charlotte Gainsbourg and that very likely colored my view. Celebrity crush aside, she puts in an excellent performance as a newly widowed mother who is overwhelmed in her grief and expected burden of single parenthood to a parcel of children. Her character's arc in this is played out with exquisite nuance and empathy. She carries this film very well.

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.
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Through its simple authenticity, The Tree powerfully explores family dynamics, love and loss. The performances are nothing short of sincere and moving. I expected this to be typically sad considering the issues it deals with but instead it concentrates on deeper issues such as family, the mystery of death, love, and loyalty.
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By SHEILA on November 4, 2014
Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Very creative in making parallel of tree and lose of a father/husband. I think the point here is that a family must reform and heal themselves before taking on new spouses. Unlike today when there is a new partner in place before the lose (death/divorce) is processed appropriately by all involved. I liked it.
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I liked this movie a lot more than I expected to. It was slow and often sad but very beautiful. I liked the characters, especially the little girl who lost her dad and believed he was in the tree. It was an enjoyable film to watch for it's sheer environmental beauty (the tree).
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You should definitely not watch the trailer if you can avoid it because I think it gives you a different idea of what the movie is about than what it really is.
The characters seem sad and confused and there is a general inability to cope with their life situation. That's just my take, and how I feel about the people being portrayed in this situation. To me, the only endearing character gets shuffled off for no comprehensible reason, for his efforts.
Of course the acting is all top notch, so it is not about them, it is the story and the state of mind people go into because of catastrophes. I can relate to that having lived through a very devastating hurricane in South Florida, how you can go into a sort of malaise in the midst of what seems like ruin that has to be permanent. Well, it isn't and you just deal with it.
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