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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women are powerful. Some people don't listen in order to hear, they listen to judge.
Positive Role Models
All the women bring their faults and weaknesses into a hazardous situation, yet their strength carries them through.
The action takes place in Rwanda. All characters but one are Black. One Black group is biased against another, resulting in a million murders. A Black woman who has been rescued and protected by others blames White people in general for the genocide in Rwanda.
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Violence & Scariness
Two Hutu young men attack a pregnant Tutsi woman, mostly heard, but seen from afar. They threaten her life if she doesn't give up her husband and kids. Then they rape and kill her anyway as she screams. A woman speaks of trying to kill herself. In a dream, it looks as if someone has slit her wrists. The main characters are terrified through most of the action, fearing for their lives. At one point they must remain quiet while someone on the street above urinates into their space through a hole. The four are near starvation and fight over food. In a rage, a woman tries to strangle the woman who saved her. Someone subdues her and nearly suffocates her in the process. Women describe being raped by close relatives, unprotected by loved ones who knew.
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"F--k," "s--t," "bitch," "damn," "hell," "piss," and "cockroach."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A drunk driver tells the story of being responsible for the death of a child.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Trees of Peace is a 2021 drama about the 1990s genocide of Hutus against Tutsis in Rwanda. The film conveys the brutality and horror of the violence mostly through sound and descriptions. The lack of bloody visuals allows viewers to imagine the worst, just what the four women hiding from bloody murderers for months in a cramped storage space must do. Language includes "f—k," "s—t," "bitch," "damn," "hell," "piss," and "cockroach," the latter a term used by Hutus to describe the Tutsis they're determined to exterminate. A drunk driving incident that ends in death is described. Women describe being raped by close relatives, unprotected by loved ones who knew. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The first half of Trees of Peace feels like a recap of other movies about people under duress during wartime. The message is the usual: Some are noble and generous, and others are weak, selfish, angry, critical, and ungrateful. But director Alanna Brown begins to break the characters down into individuals and although some of their backstories feel a bit cliched, the actors help create a believable growing bond that unites the women, leaving us with an inspiring story of loyalty and also soaring female power.
Text that runs at the movie's end describes the triumph over tragedy of women who survived the genocide and created healing reconciliation tribunals that bathed the broken country in forgiveness and led to high numbers of women in leadership positions, a higher percentage of female government officials than any other nation on earth. It's interesting to note that the film doesn't bother to explain why the Hutu hate the Tutsi. The answer is obvious as it is for all prejudices: There is no good reason.
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.