Etz Limon (Lemon Tree) (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Etz Limon (Lemon Tree) (2009)



Critic Consensus: A positive and personal Israeli film that offers an understated and thought-provoking vision of the West Bank troubles.

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Movie Info

Widow and empty nester Salma Zidane lives on the Palestinian West Bank, in a little house flanked by lemon trees planted by her great grand parents. Unfortunately, when the Israeli minister of defense builds a house adjacent to her own, her lemon trees are deemed a security risk. Salma hires a lawyer to prevent the powerful man from having her ancestral trees removed, but the odds are stacked against her, and to make matters worse, she begins to fall in love with her lawyer. Things seem bleak, but it looks like hope could shine in from an unexpected source, when the minister's neglected wife develops sympathy for Salma's plight. ~ Cammila Albertson, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Eran Riklis, Suha Arraf
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 3, 2009
Box Office: $0.5M


Hiam Abbass
as Salma Zidane
Ali Suliman
as Ziad Daud
Doron Tavory
as Defense Minister Isr...
Tarik Copty
as Abu Hussam
Tarak Kopty
as Abu Hussam
Amos Lavi
as Captain Jacob
Amnon Wolf
as Leibowitz
Smadar Yaaron
as Tamar Gera
Danny Leshman
as Private Quickie
Makram Khoury
as Abu Kamal
Loai Nofi
as Nasser Zidane
Hili Yalon
as Sigi Navon
Michael Warshaviak
as Attorney Braverman
Amos Lavie
as Captain Jacob
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Etz Limon (Lemon Tree)

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (22)

Eran Riklis, who directed and co-wrote with Suha Arraf (they also collaborated on The Syrian Bride), has made a compelling movie that takes its strength from the ground-level picture it gives of the human aspect of the problems in that part of the world.

Full Review… | August 23, 2009
Top Critic

The two Israelis who take her side are female, which underscores the film's message: a little less machismo might save a lot more than trees.

Full Review… | June 12, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The pungence of Lemon Tree is in the surreal moments that capture the pervasive unease in Gaza, and in the quiet strength of Abbass' performance.

Full Review… | June 4, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

This is a film about a problem, not a solution, and it's effectively upsetting.

Full Review… | May 15, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

The story, based on a real incident, may be simplistic, but that's the nature of fables. The direction is sure-handed, and the acting is good, particularly by the very appealing Abbass.

Full Review… | May 8, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Lemon Tree offers the bittersweet satisfaction of understanding a thorny situation a bit better. In a uniformly strong cast, Hiam Abbass is outstanding as the proud, lovely Salma.

Full Review… | May 7, 2009
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Etz Limon (Lemon Tree)


A story of pride and principal. A Palestinian woman's lemons come into harms way when an Israeli politician moves in next door. It's almost like one of those stories where neighbors go mental at the size of each others trees. The only difference being, here there are far more complex and interesting political issues at hand. The film is a moving testament to those that cannot be bought. The parallel story of the wife of the politician, sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinian woman is also a nice companion story that adds to the main narrative. The film does tend to trip over itself when it comes to the politics. It is far too concerned with portraying any character, against the protagonist, in a villainous light. The defense minister comes off as callous and careless while his secret service just seem incompetently paranoid. All this is at the expense of a sweet love story blossoming between the woman and her newly appointed lawyer.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


A most infuriating film, pitting a Palestinian widow against the security forces of the Israeli defense minister whose family has moved in next door. Not only does the widow, Salma Zidane (Hiam Abbass), have to contend with Israeli bureaucracy and the Israeli justice system that is arrayed against her, but she must also defend her honor with her Palestinian neighbors, who do nothing to lift a finger to help her in her struggle. The bone of contention is the lemon grove which lies between the adjacent properties and is judged to be a potential haven for terrorists. That the grove is the legacy which Salma received from her father, has stood for over fifty years and provides her sole source of income, the wheels of justice slowly grind her down. She is aided in her fight by an idealistic young lawyer, Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman). The defense minister's wife, played by Romna Lipaz-Michael, is Salma's silent ally, but she, too, is powerless to offer any real aid. The cast is superb, and the script sparse, but together they clearly convey the frustration and futility experienced by the Palestinian people. The final scene leaves one feeling hollow. A terrific look from another perspective at the human tragedy of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]Most homeowners would love to have a lemon grove overlooking their property but the one in "The Lemon Tree" is in the West Bank and is owned by Salma Zidane(Hiam Abbass), a widow. On the other side of the border in Israel, the new defense minister Israel Tavon(Doron Tavory) has moved in with his wife Mira(Rona Lipaz-Michael). Fearing potential terrorists hiding themselves in the trees, he orders them removed. To Salma, who barely makes any money off the lemons, it is a point of pride since the trees have been in her family for the past fifty years and she hires a young lawyer, Ziad(Ali Suliman), to bring the case to court. They lose the first round but appeal to the Supreme Court.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Lemon Tree" is a deceptively and quietly devastating movie that works on multiple levels to dissect life in the West Bank and Israel, most importantly on a personal level with performances to match. It is a movie that calls for peace, showing a different way to fight a battle than violence in a land full of missed opportunities for communication. The new security wall is only a part of this problem. This is also a movie that is set in societies that are both dominated by men, focusing on two lonely women, both who also have grown children living in Washington, DC. I know. I know. What are the odds? Look at it this way. Hypothetically, their paths might never cross in their home countries but the potential is definitely there in the United States. Just don't pay any attention to the middle-aged white guy who is screaming all the time. [/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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