The Olive Tree (El Olivo)

A warm, sometimes-spirited Spanish drama – written by Paul Laverty of yer Ken Loach films – about a young woman’s attempts to find and bring home an olive tree that was sold against the will of her grandfather during the 2008 financial crisis, an incident that subsequently divided her family and which may or may not have contributed to the old man’s more subdued, withdrawn state of being. Once the basic elements of the story are in place it’s a rather predictable affair, and disbelief must be suspended as certain incidents play out, but the acting is fine and it’s competently directed by Icíar Bollaín. Laverty’s own politics are to the fore, with points made via his screenplay on the practices of big and small businesses, local corruption, the global economic crash and how the after-effects are still being felt in Spain; and in the lead character of Anna (Anna Castillo) we have a rebel with a cause, of sorts, who charms as these points are being made. (***)