I saw ‘The Tree’ on netflix the other day. Visually incredible is one way to interest me in a film, and the other is ‘strong female lead’. I love to see women’s points of view emphasized in film. This is a good one for that. This is a film with a female lens. Exceptionally-crafted, with a carefully created extended metaphor, and scenery of the Australian countryside, this is a film which appeals to the wild nature. Women need films like this.
The daughter, who identifies with her father and reaches out to her mother, has a strong view in this film. She asserts herself and never plays the part of ‘poor lost little, please save me’. She believes strongly and advocates ardently for what she believes, though at a certain point it becomes dangerous and less than logical (after all, she’s only 8). She’s a believable character partly due to the activities she likes to do, such as climbing trees, as well as her balance of glowing qualities and flaws.
The mother’s struggle and grief are portrayed in such a real, human way. She goes through denial, depression, escapism, anger, and facing her grief. She’s allowed to make mistakes and move on without guilting herself. I like that. She says, “Life is long, right?” It’s so rare that a female in a film is allowed to make a mistake and neither guilt herself over it, nor bend over backwards to apologize for choices that haven’t had a persisting negative effect.
There’s no soppy ending (yes, I spelled that correctly) though the family car does drive off towards the horizon.
Women predominantly fill the leadership roles for ‘The Tree’. The film was written and directed by a woman, produced by 3 women and 3 men (if I’m guessing correctly by their names), and several female actors play in it. This movie not only passes the Bechdel Test, it also passes the FGAF test of ‘does it promote women?’ The two female leads are portrayed as strong and loving, playful, independent and fun; all of which I consider to be positive qualities. They are also easy to identify with, they come across as ‘real’ which is wonderful because it doesn’t set up impossible standards to live up to for women watching the film.
Thank you Julie Bertucelli, Judy Pascoe, Elizabeth J. Mars, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies, Rosemary Blight, Laetitia Gonzalez, and Sue Taylor for playing such critical roles in the creation of ‘The Tree’. It is a work well worth praising.
I’m feeling way-good about strong female leads.