A small Spanish film with a big heart, ‘The Olive Tree’ is a character driven drama about a feisty, troubled Spanish girl Alma (Anna Castillo) and her relationship with her Granddad. The story is simple but what it lacks in complexity, it more than makes up for with great acting and a well delivered, beautiful tale of family and self reflection.
After a two thousand year old Olive Tree is ripped from the ground and sold for cash by Alma’s Father, Alma’s granddad goes into a deep state of depression and becomes mute for 12 years. With his deteriorating health and an ever desperate Alma, she decides to go on a journey to Germany to get the tree back and hopefully restore her Granddad back to his old self.
This 90 minute drama moves at a decent pace and there’s some great acting all round from Alma and in particular her Uncle Alcachofa (Javier Gutierrez) who’s outstanding here. The two leads have great chemistry and it really shows with some great back and forth scenes with some real emotional power. There’s a lot to like here and the acting, all in Spanish of course, is just a joy to watch. For those unlucky enough not to be Spanish or speak Espana, with 90 minutes of subtitles this might be a little hard for some to follow but for me it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film.
It’s not just the acting and story to like though – there’s some smart camera work and symbolic shots including the final shot of the film that’s just simply beautiful. Furthermore, Alma’s Granddad is shot in predominantly dull colours with little bright light which again is a touch toward his further descent from the very light that seems to be fading from his haunted eyes. There’s such subtle little things like this that stand out in the film and give it such a distinct charm missing from bigger titles.
Overall, ‘The Olive Tree’ is a beautiful film. It oozes in charisma and its simple story gives enough breathing room for the actors to really grow and push themselves here and it pays off with some truly powerful scenes. The ending is both beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time and it rounds off this drama nicely. I would highly recommend checking this one out as it truly is a really well crafted film.