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.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
"Simon and the Oaks" branches out in ways unusual and interesting enough to hold your attention and then even shake it a bit.
| Original Score: B-
The German occupation barely makes an impression in Lisa Ohlin's sluggish adaptation of Marianne Fredriksson's novel.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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 a lot of things, but above all, it is too much.
| Original Score: 6.8/10
So much is thrown at the audience, it makes it difficult to focus or choose the important points in this sprawling story.
"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.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
What starts off as an intriguing coming-of-age story, ends up being a convoluted movie with too many characters having problems.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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.
| Original Score: 2/4
[A] lush, handsomely crafted middlebrow epic ...
| Original Score: 3/4
Foreign-film comfort food...at its best in exploring the psychology of the adopted.
Loses steam the longer it tries to articulate uninteresting asides, with the effort's coming of age inclination best served on an intimate scale of unspoken tragedy. Inflating the troubles only emphasizes storytelling shortcomings.
Think about climbing a tree instead.
A sensitive character study chronicling the considerable challenge of coming-of-age Jewish with the specter of the Third Reich lurking just over the horizon.
Simon and The Oaks covers the various paths taken by a sensitive and smart boy and then young man in his quest for meaning.
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.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
With beautiful period trappings and picturesque backdrops, the film doesn't skimp on visual details, though the resulting product is inert.
| Original Score: C
Poetic, romantic and idealistic, it begins in 1939 and concludes after the end of World War II.
Arthouse appreciation will depend on a given viewer's tolerance for broad-strokes melodrama of intertwined fates that lacks the ambition and emotional complications of many similar screen works.