Alfre Woodard stars in this family drama as attorney Clara Collier, who returns home to her rural Georgia roots when her mother (Mary Alice), a local storyteller, passes away. Once there, she reunites with the family that once took the Colliers in during hard times, and she discovers that local tales of a “magic man” who guides lost travelers back to safety from the dense local forests might be true. But when a young friend is injured, Clara finds that the mysterious man of the forest is all too human – and in need of legal protection. Airs on Showtime Sun. 2/10/00 at 8:00PM ET/PT and Mon 2/28.
Attempting to be a parable focusing on healing and hope, it left me unmoved. It is a film that addresses several subjects, including racial relationships, prejudice and reverse prejudice, mother and daughter struggles, and a fantasy about a magic tree that performs miracles. Trouble is, the themes and subplots are handled with all the depth of a segment of “Dharma and Greg.” Although the film puts significance on having faith, it suggests we believe in magic and a tree that grants wishes. Ah, Hollywood. It wants us to believe in something – no matter if it’s Santa or a benevolent shrub – just so long as it’s not Jesus Christ. Still, “The Wishing Tree” is a clean film, with a positive message about tolerance. We have approved this movie for 12+, but we much prefer another film Alfre Woodard and Mary Alice starred in – “Down In The Delta.” It demonstrates how people can mend when they are nurtured. There’s even a respect for God, with family members praying and attending church. It is perceptive, touching and life-affirming.