The Tree (2010) Film Review

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A family live in the middle of rural Queensland; father, Peter (Aden Young) mother, Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and four children, Simone (Morgana Davies), Tim (Christian Byers), Lou (Tom Russell) and Charlie (Gabriel Gotting). When Peter dies suddenly, the family need to find their own way to get through their grief. Dawn falls to pieces. Charlie stops talking altogether. And Simone discovers that she can hear her father when she sits in the branches of the massive Moreton Bay Fig whose roots are tearing up the plumbing. The film plays out their grief, culminating in a natural disaster which forces them together.

It is a beautiful film in that Australian, rural, country beautiful way. Things are slow-moving, and there are a lot of shots of the magnificent landscape. I felt that it needed more; it felt like a short film which had been stretched into a feature rather than really occupying the full length. Charlotte Gainsbourg drove me nuts, playing an airy-fairy woman who was barely able to cope with life – although her grief was magnificent and heart-breaking. I wonder in her performance reminded me of the commentary of her own mother, Jane Birkin in Postcards of Serge, and that sent me up the wall. In all honesty, regardless of how you feel about the movie itself, it’s worth watching just for the tree. If you’ve never seen a Moreton Bay Fig, plan your next holiday to go see one. It’s worth it.

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