Cast: Aydin Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar, Hazar Erguclu
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
I think the most unfortunate part about watching The Wild Pear Tree is that I watched it so shortly after watching Never Look Away. Their makeup and themes are incredibly similar to one another and maybe if I watched them in reverse order The Wild Pear Tree would’ve emerged as the favorite, but I think I’m suffering from foreign-language movie fatigue. Both are over three hours long, which is already a chore in an English-language film, both are obviously internationally produced, and both are deeply personal to those involved. Definitely too long for it’s own good, The Wild Pear Tree’s touching themes and gripping reality transcend linguistic and cultural barriers and creates a world that any viewer can easily relate to.
The movie follows Sinan (Demirkol), a recent college graduate who is now focusing his time working on publishing his book. While he is beginning his life in the real world, the actions of his father Idris (Cemcir) have an adverse effect on Sinan and his family. This causes Sinan to rethink his life and we see him discuss multiple areas of his life over the course of 188 minutes. Whether these are love, religion, family, or career, Sinan slowly starts to learn about the harsh reality of these topics and how they don’t always conform with how we imagine them going. Let’s start with the most obvious point of contention with this film; the length. There’s no need for a movie like this to be over three hours long at it drags topics out way longer than they ever needed to be. While I agree that most of these scenes are relevant to the movie and the themes certainly stand out, how many of these moments could’ve been cut down for the sake of time? I understand the scenes discussing the value of Islam are important to the movie, but you can only watch these scenes for so long before going, “we get it religion is complicated.” There are ways to include these scenes without having them drag on too long and The Wild Pear Tree doesn’t get that right. That being said, the poor pacing and length don’t undermine the overall importance of a movie like The Wild Pear Tree. For a movie where I didn’t understand a single word without subtitles, it almost perfectly portrays the struggle that young people go through after they graduate from college. As someone who is two years removed from school and still figuring out many of the topics Sinan dealt with, I appreciate when movies like this come out regardless of the scale they’re on. This is most apparent during the ending as The WIld Pear Tree absolutely knows how to stick the landing. After all of these intense conversations between friends and family, the one that matters most is the one at the end of the film and that’s the one I thought of the most after watching this movie. If it was just trimmed down by 20 minutes, there’s a legitimate argument that The Wild Pear Tree is one of the best movies of the year, but the lengths at which it goes to prove these points ultimately weighs it down.
Overall, seeing that I don’t watch a particularly high amount of foreign-language films, but of the ones I have seen, The Wild Pear Tree continues to add to the level of quality from around the world. Films about the way we live always find a way to connect to people from every corner of the globe and doesn’t matter if you’re an American beginning a career at a Fortune 500 company or a Turk looking to get a book published, The Wild Pear Tree shows the uncertainty of our futures brilliantly and just how hard it is for us to actually follow our dreams.
Overall Score: 7/10