Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. A wrenching, richly layered feminist allegory as well as a geopolitical one.
  2. 88
    You know a performance has to be special when a Palestinian wins Israel's version of the Best Actress Oscar. But why should politics detract from a stunning performance?
  3. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    The rare ability to make intelligent, entertaining cinema from hot-button current issues is beautifully illustrated by Lemon Tree.
  4. 80
    Something like a cross between a torn-from-the-headlines docudrama, a Middle East conflict rendered in miniature and Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," this latest film from the terrific Israeli director Eran Riklis revolves around the amazing lead performance of Palestinian-French actress Hiam Abbass.
  5. 78
    The most remarkable aspect of Lemon Tree, however, and the one that's most likely to land this film on many year-end Best Foreign Film lists, is Abbass' devastating and marvelously restrained performance.
  6. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Referencing the popular song, the movie's title reminds us that "the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat." That, in a rind, is Riklis's deeply frustrated view of his country's stalemate, but you can only take a metaphor so far before it falters in the face of endless geopolitical complexity.
  7. Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis' Lemon Tree is a lively deadpan comedy which, like his prior film "The Syrian Bride," satirizes Israel's bureaucrats while remaining sympathetic to citizens who live within and adjacent to Israel's disputed borders.
  8. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Often refuses to adhere to the formula, sometimes offering a tantalizing ambiguity, other times aspiring to a more complex drama it cannot entirely deliver.
  9. The story, based on a real incident, may be simplistic, but that's the nature of fables.
  10. 75
    The sensuousness of Lemon Tree is its glory.
  11. The cast is uniformly fine, but Abbass and Lipaz-Michael shine as two women who bond in the fear that the best of their lives is over and neither of them is happy with what the future holds.
  12. Riklis has made a powerful film, but can a powerful film change anything about the fatalistic culture of powerlessness that is felt throughout Palestine and Israel? The irony of Lemon Tree is that what it achieves adds, in the end, to the sense that nothing can unravel this mess.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Lemon Tree is in its best moments a sober-hearted take on the righteous blowback from whittled-away souls, and a movie that invariably rights itself with each return to the beautifully steely gaze of Abbass.
  14. 67
    This story--or stories like it--has been told and re-told too often. Lemon Tree works best when Riklis cuts out the predictable melodrama and trusts the fertility of his central metaphor.
  15. Reviewed by: David Parkinson
    A positive and personal look at the Israel/ Palestine divide through the quest of one woman to maintain her own property.
  16. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Promising parallels abound (not least between the two women's burdens), but the direction is stubbornly flat-footed.

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