The Olive Tree | Chicago Reader

The Olive Tree

100 minutes 2016

As a girl, Alma climbs into a giant olive tree, loved by her grandfather, to protect it from being uprooted from the family farm and sold for a handsome sum; grown to adulthood, this determined young punk (Anna Castillo) sees the grandfather slowly dying and resolves to bring the tree back and revive him. British screenwriter Paul Laverty is best known for his long collaboration with director Ken Loach, and to judge from this Spanish drama, his second script for director Icíar Bollaín, he needs Loach's steadying social-realist hand as much as Loach needs his sense of fancy. Bollaín is a strong director, and Castillo gives her plenty of juice as the heroine, who tears around on a motorcycle and won't take no for an answer, but their best efforts fall victim to Laverty's moony premise and increasingly contrived plot developments. In Spanish with subtitles.

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