A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Sometimes getting over pain and trauma requires facing your past and your fears. But you are enough, and life can be beautiful.
Positive Role Models
Julia shows strength when facing her sadness and despair. Caleb and Ryan also face serious personal issues, but despite these, they show compassion, loyalty, friendship, and understanding toward Julia.
This is Julia's story, who is a White woman. All the main characters in the film are also White (Caleb, Ryan, Luke, Julia's mother, and Mira).
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Violence & Scariness
A man almost drowns in a river. A woman hits a man in the face, cutting his lip. A man shoves another man off him after the shoved kissed the shover without consent. A woman's mother dies in a hospital bed. A woman suffers a stillbirth after also going through many miscarriages. Adults yell and argue.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some nudity (bare breasts, men in underwear) during and after a sex scene between two men and a woman. The woman briefly gives one of the men oral sex. Adults romantically kiss and talk about relationships and sex.
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Strong language throughout includes: "f--k," "f--ker," "f--king," "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
The musical artists New Order and The Smiths (and some of their songs) are mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigars frequently. A man recovering from alcoholism carries around a bottle of whiskey "to know it's there." Another man drinks some whiskey and gets a little drunk. A woman drinks a mystical concoction of some sort.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Wishing Tree (2020) is an indie drama about a woman's search for peace and understanding after a series of traumatic losses. Julia has recently lost her mother, an unborn child, and a husband, and tries to find an old tree that gave her peace when she was a child. The film deals with adult subjects like miscarriage, depression, alcoholism, and divorce. There's a fair amount of strong language "f--k," "f--ker," "f--king," "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," and "hell"), some violence (a man almost drowns in a river, a woman hits a man in the face, cutting his lip, a man shoves another man off him after the shoved kissed the shover without consent), and many scenes that show adults crying (a woman's mother dies in a hospital bed, a woman suffers a stillbirth after also going through many miscarriages, couples argue). There's some brief nudity (bare breasts and butts) during a sex scene between two men and a woman. Adults smoke cigars frequently. A man recovering from alcoholism carries around a bottle of whiskey "to know it's there." Another man drinks some whiskey and gets a little drunk. A woman drinks a mystical concoction of some sort. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Earnestly shot and performed, this indie drama has plenty of gentle acoustic guitar that accompanies montages and scene transitions. But while The Wishing Tree (2020) strives for a quietly powerful introspective journey of a woman's idea of who she should be, a few issues keep this story from feeling important or relevant. Unfortunately, conventional writing ("Why would you infect me with your doubt?" "I want to feel something... else"), cringe-y decisions (the sex scene, the ending), and unexplained ambiguities (the woman at the end, the wishing tree) all make for an at times laborious watch.
The film launches right into Julia's pain and suffering well before there's any time to get to know her, who she is, and why the audience should care about her. Outside of knowing that she desperately wants to conceive a child, that she hasn't been able to yet, and that she and her partner have broken up over years of child conceiving failure, the viewer knows nothing about Julia. And it's never revealed why Julia (and her partner) never considered adoption or other alternative means to family making before they separated. Lastly, some might view this story as very "White people problems," as it's yet another indie drama about White people who invariably for some such reason end up trekking through a forest to "find themselves" after adulthood didn't turn out like how they imagined it would when they were younger.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.