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The Tree (4 stars)

Psychological drama starring Charlotte Gainsbourg is a fine study of loss

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The Tree

(12A) 100min

It seems trees are the new black: Terrence Malick wins the Palme d’Or with The Tree of Life, Win Win shows the central character’s life on track as he finally takes down the tree outside his garden, and La Quattro Volte gives a tree a leading role. Now in The Tree it is not only vital to the narrative, but also serves a symbolic function and happens to be the eponymous character. Charlotte Gainsbourg is Dawn O’Neill, the mother of four kids and married to a good-looking, charming and loveable man, but tragedy visits and the film deals with the fallout. Subsequently, the huge Moreton Bay fig tree in their garden appears to be the conscience of the family, as well as a source of solace to Dawn’s daughter, Simone (Morgana Davies). There have been plenty of horror films over the years malevolently anthropomorphising trees: none more so than The Evil Dead, but director Julie Bertuccelli (Since Otar Left) keeps the film within the realm of psychological drama, using the tree for its suggestive possibilities rather than overly literalising its presence. Co-written by Judy Pascoe from her novel, The Tree is a fine study of loss.

Selected release from Fri 5 Aug.

The Tree

  • 4 stars
  • 2010
  • France
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Julie Bertuccelli
  • Written by: Julie Bertuccelli
  • Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas, Morgana Davies, Aden Young

A fine study of loss in this psychological drama as a seemingly perfect family deals with the fallout of a tragedy, and the huge fig tree in their garden comes to represent their collective conscience.

The Tree Trailer

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