Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (32)
| Top Critics (14)
| Fresh (17)
| Rotten (15)
| DVD (1)
"Simon and the Oaks" branches out in ways unusual and interesting enough to hold your attention and then even shake it a bit.
The sheer sincerity of everyone concerned bolsters the whole enterprise so that Ohlin's historical novel-on-film holds us.
"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.
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.
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.
With beautiful period trappings and picturesque backdrops, the film doesn't skimp on visual details, though the resulting product is inert.
It deserves credit for exploring a familiar tragedy in a new way, giving Swedes and non-Swedes alike much to think about as we consider our culpability in the many crimes, small and large, humanity is sadly still capable of committing.
Contains more than one emotionally potent scene and never takes the easy shortcuts.
Significant enough to be name-checked in the title, the trees hang over the film, threatening to impose heavy metaphor on what is otherwise a straightforward family saga.
The German occupation barely makes an impression in Lisa Ohlin's sluggish adaptation of Marianne Fredriksson's novel.
Simon and the Oaks is a lot of things, but above all, it is too much.
So much is thrown at the audience, it makes it difficult to focus or choose the important points in this sprawling story.
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