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Saturday, August 6, 2011

337. The Tree


    I can't imagine watching a more apt movie considering the summer our family has had.
    To be honest, I'd delayed watching The Tree because it all seemed a bit fanciful to me.
    The premise of the tree invading a family home and being accepted because it was thought to contain a spirit  of a loved one sounded unpromising.
    But The Tree is simply a story about how the nearest and dearest cope with death.
    In this instance, the father of the young family dies of a heart attack just outside their home. He is at the wheel of a truck which comes to rest at the ginormous tree which dwarfs the house in the Australian countryside.
    His wife, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg (doesn't she look like Jane Birkin) is virtually bed-bound with grief for weeks afterwards.
    Meanwhile, her four children react differently.
    But the eight-year-old daughter Simone (Morgana Davies) senses that her father's spirit is still in the tree and sets up home in its branches.
    Eventually her mother comes around but also feels oneness with the tree.
    Unsurprisingly, others, particularly a crotchety neighbour don't understand and matters become even more complicated when the tree's roots endanger the future of the family's home.
    Of course, there is much more to Julie Bertuccelli's film than the tree itself. There is an incisive exploration of how relationships become fractured after the passing of a loved one.
    And, while it is a quiet movie, it does have moments of drama.
    Gainsbourg certainly demonstrates the mood swings which follow death with depth but the star of the film is Davies who is fabulously feisty.
    As said, I could not pretend that our family's situation is anything near as dramatic as that suffered by this family.
    But I suspect I understood The Tree far more because we have suffered two bereavements this summer.
    It struck a nerve in a most unusual way and I'm giving it 7.5/10.

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337. The Tree


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