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Basing a film on such an obvious metaphor usually calls for either artistic subtlety or visual compensation in order to make the core idea work on more than one shallow level.

Thankfully, the points and emotions The Tree tries to put across are safely transmitted but with a little more creativity, the film could have been so much more.

For one thing, the idea of a kid's dad being reincarnated into a tree is silly enough without making it as obvious as possible! No mention of the actual "reincarnation" could have added some welcome mystery to the whole thing and made some of the symbolism much less in-your-face. I mean, Charlotte Gainsbourg starts an affair with a new man and the tree crashes into the house shortly after... don't think...

Could it be...? the tree/dead husband UNHAPPY about all this?!

Duh, have you SEEN a movie before?

But I'm being mean. Honestly this isn't a bad film at all. Visually it looks nice, the child actors are very decent even if their lines are often far from convincing (if kids talked like that THEY'D be in charge!) and Charlotte Gainsbourg does a good job. Speaking of which, the entire time I couldn't help but think about the last time she went to a lost cabin and tried to get over the death of a beloved relative...

Hell, I kept expecting her to "Antichrist" her entire family! Eating live frogs, punching bats in the face, running around screaming fully nude...

Yes, the version of The Tree in my head was far more interesting and disturbing than the actual thing... but as it stands, this is a well-meaning, good-looking, atmospheric little film and worth a look.

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