Simon & the Oaks Image
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62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: An epic drama spanning the years 1939 to 1952, this is the gripping story of Simon, who grows up in a loving working class family on the outskirts of Gothenburg but always feels out of place. Intellectually gifted, he stubbornly persists in acquiring an education normally reserved for youngAn epic drama spanning the years 1939 to 1952, this is the gripping story of Simon, who grows up in a loving working class family on the outskirts of Gothenburg but always feels out of place. Intellectually gifted, he stubbornly persists in acquiring an education normally reserved for young men of the professional classes, much to the chagrin of his parents who fear that he will become stuck up. He finally convinces his father to send him to an upper-class grammar school, where he meets Isak, the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who has fled Nazi persecution in Germany. Simon is dazzled by the books, art and music he encounters in the home of Isak’s father Ruben, which makes Simon long to know more about his own family background. Isak, on the other hand, draws comfort from learning to do something with his hands, helping Simon’s dad make boats. When Isak faces trouble at home, he is taken in by Simon’s family and the two households slowly merge, connecting in unexpected ways as war rages all over Europe. (The Film Arcade) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: David DeWitt
    Oct 12, 2012
    90
    With its exhilarating World War II narrative and performances that touch notes intimate and grand, Simon and the Oaks has an exquisite, and epic, ache.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 17, 2012
    88
    It is unabashedly sentimental and epic, and rather bold in the way it takes place during and after the Holocaust but is not defined by it.
  3. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 26, 2012
    88
    Simon and the Oaks is not merely the story of two boys from opposite sides of the tracks. It's also a larger meditation on life's hardships and what endures: love, art and civilization.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Nordine
    Oct 10, 2012
    50
    Lisa Ohlin's Simon and the Oaks has all the superficial elements of compelling drama but none of the interiority; it looks like a good movie without ever actually feeling like one.
  5. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 17, 2012
    50
    Ponderous and heavy with its own importance, Simon And The Oaks is the kind of film that's made for awards - it nabbed 13 nominations in Sweden's equivalent of the Oscars last year.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 26, 2012
    50
    It's as if there's a missing reel of film that could tie the story together and give it the emotional impact it takes for granted.
  7. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Oct 20, 2012
    50
    It's a sumptuously mounted melodrama that aims to make a big statement about big themes, but a stilted quality in the filmmaking drags it down.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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