Simon and the Oaks (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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An epic drama spanning the years 1939 to 1952, this is the gripping story of Simon (Bill Skarsgaard), who grows up in a loving working class family on the outskirts of Gothenburg but always feels out of place. He finally convinces his father to send him to an upper-class grammar school, where he meets Isak, the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who has fled Nazi persecution in Germany. Simon is dazzled by the books, art and music he encounters in the home of Isak's father Ruben (Jan Josef Leifers), which makes Simon long to know more about his own family background. Isak, on the other hand, draws comfort from learning to do something with his hands, helping Simon's dad (Stefan Godicke) make boats. When Isak faces trouble at home, he is taken in by Simon's family and the two households slowly merge, connecting in unexpected ways as war rages all over Europe. -- (C) Official Site
Art House & International , Drama
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Jonatan S. Wächter
as Young Simon
Lena Nylen
as Olga
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Critic Reviews for Simon and the Oaks

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (15)

"Simon and the Oaks" branches out in ways unusual and interesting enough to hold your attention and then even shake it a bit.

Full Review… | November 8, 2012
Detroit News
Top Critic

The sheer sincerity of everyone concerned bolsters the whole enterprise so that Ohlin's historical novel-on-film holds us.

Full Review… | November 2, 2012
The New Republic
Top Critic

"Simon and the Oaks" is not merely the story of two boys from opposite sides of the tracks. It's also a larger meditation on life's hardships and what endures: love, art and civilization.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

With its fool's-gold cinematography, over-emphatic musical score and self-important protagonist, "Simon and the Oaks" is a puny acorn that dreams it's a towering achievement.

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

[A] lush, handsomely crafted middlebrow epic ...

Full Review… | October 25, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

It's a warmly done family and personal drama that seems to cover familiar territory, but only up to a point and very much in its own way.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Simon and the Oaks


Interesting historically given Sweden's neutrality in WWII, and the actor as young Simon does a remarkable job given a role with little dialog and lots of emotion to be conveyed. Somewhat convoluted family and love relationships (does that go without saying in Swedish films?) but at least they're revealed in a way that you can keep track of them. There are more-than-necessary mood shots which make the film seem much longer than it is, and the first 2/3rds are much more interesting and satisfying than the post-war conclusion.

Rik Anderson
Rik Anderson

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