The Tree Review

Image for The Tree

When Dawn's (Gainsbourg) husband dies suddenly at their outback home, she and her four children are left grieving and bereft. But when eight year-old Simone (Davies) tells her mother she can hear her father through the leaves of their Moreton Bay Fig, Dawn takes solace from the tree's strange presence.


Seven years after her moving debut, Since Otar Left, Julie Bertuccelli returns with a more melodramatic adaptation of Judy Pascoe’s novel, Our Father Who Art In The Tree. The paucity of back story makes it difficult to accept the magnitude of the grief affecting Charlotte Gainsbourg and her four children after the sudden death of husband Aden Young. But eight year-old daughter Morgana Davies’ conviction that Young’s spirit inhabits the fig tree abutting their outback home imbues the action with a supernatural charm that seeps into Gainsbourg’s bid to rebuild her life with new boss Marton Csokas. The cinematography and sound design are crucial to the heightening of the unsettling atmosphere, while the sensitive performances keep things rooted in realism. But, for all its intimacy and restraint, this never quite convinces.

An eerie and unsettling adaptation of Judy Pascoe's novel that impresses more for its atmospherics than its narrative.