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Parents' Guide to

The Wishmas Tree

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Animated eco-fable has sweet siblings, icky bits, scares.

Movie NR 2020 90 minutes
The Wishmas Tree Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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With a young upstart looking for adventure and an animal utopia, the debut movie from director Ricard Cussó has familiar themes to other recent animated adventures such as Moana and Zootopia. But hanging over proceedings is a big red shadow of doom -- with extinction itself threatening all life. As the depiction is relatively abstract (a big, angry red-eyed cloud), this can be factored into a viewing as much, or as little, as wanted -- very young children will be able to watch without any of the story spilling out into their world. So with this successfully layered on top, the work on the ground is given extra heft, as the two likable possums -- Kerry (Miranda Tapsell) and Petra (Kate Murphy) -- make their way to find the second wishing tree and save the world. Once there, the movie pushes its eco message further, flying the flag for progressive community building.

Keeping the movie grounded under its big messages is a big dollop of icky humor -- pus, snot, and stinky mud. When a toads' warts are popped and cascade goo, the distinct backgrounds serve to remind us that life can be both beautiful and stomach-churning, occasionally at the same time. Visually it's great, bar an over reliance on extreme focus shifts in some scenes. This technique is rarely a storytelling tool, occasionally leaving the movie with a tech demo feel. As well as its positive eco message, the movie excels with its sibling relationships. When it needs to, the movie slows down to let Kerry and Paula discuss complex emotions about responsibility, sibling relationships, and friendship in a way that's never forced or clunky. With a central message that we need to take care of the world and be kind to each other, The Wishmas Tree has a warm heart -- albeit one sometimes covered in all manner of smelly goo.

Movie Details

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