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The Sea of Trees


A suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.

Actors: James Saito , Jordan Gavaris , Katie Aselton , Naomi Watts , Matthew McConaughey , Ken Watanabe
Directors: Gus Van Sant
Country: USA
Release: 1969-12-31
More Info:
  • Gary Goldstein

    The Sea of Trees proves a stronger movie experience than one might expect. It’s anchored by a fine, understated performance by Matthew McConaughey and a deeply felt, if at times melodramatic, story that proves strangely immersive.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    The resulting film is yet another example of a Black List script that does not work on the screen. And, frankly, we're not sure an auteur other than Van Sant would have fared any better.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Charles Gant

    As all the dots join in a pattern that strives for deeper meaning, the just too-damned-cute Sea of Trees becomes undone by a surfeit of contrived ingenuity.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    Van Sant wanted to study a man drowning in sorrow and guide him towards the light. But the guidance he gets is fake, forced, and unbearably tricksy, a kind of suicide rehab with gotcha devices.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    It has to be said that Van Sant is not above doing one for the studio but quite what sins he had committed to be made to make this pile of sub-Nicolas Sparks tripe will be beyond most.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Sam Fragoso

    The Sea of Trees is a movie about guilt and grief that elicits just that in its viewers: guilt and grief. Because for every ephemeral moment to admire in Gus Van Sant‘s latest film, there are about a half-dozen more that make you wonder what went wrong.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Jeannette Catsoulis

    Mr. Van Sant has always had a sentimental streak — reaching some kind of apogee with “Restless,” in 2011 — but a better script might have replaced literalness with the emotional intelligence that the film badly needs.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Gus Van Sant’s sticky, gooey side — previously on display in the likes of Finding Forrester and especially in the 2011 Restless — oozes out once more in the woefully sentimental and maudlin The Sea of Trees.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    On paper, it feels like a can’t-miss, especially when one considers how much it plays with themes that Van Sant has often - brilliantly explored before. Movies don’t exist on paper. And this one’s a mess. Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    A vague, syrupy soundtrack plays across scenes both current and past, making the whole thing feel like a bad soap opera.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    As it turns out, there is something worse than Nicholas Sparks, the king of morbid romantic kitsch, and that’s a Nicholas Sparks pretender with highfalutin pretensions.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • James Lattimer

    There's little here to suggest that the film is anything more than a hastily cobbled-together studio star vehicle.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Not even Matthew McConaughey can sustain the mushy, amateurish story, which digs itself a deeper hole as it moves along. The established talents of both director and star only serve to magnify the many wrong moves that this stunning misfire takes.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    For all its apparent sombreness and thoughtfulness, The Sea Of Trees is an exasperatingly shallow film on an important and agonisingly painful subject - depression and suicide. This it slathers in palliative sentimentality.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    This risibly long-winded drama is perhaps above all a profound cultural insult, milking the lush green scenery of Japan’s famous Aokigahara forest for all it’s worth, while giving co-lead Ken Watanabe little to do other than moan in agony, mutter cryptically, and generally try to act as though McConaughey’s every word isn’t boring him (pardon the expression) to death.

    Variety Full Review
  • Oliver Lyttelton

    From the cloying, ever-present score to the complete lack of narrative momentum, it all adds up to a film that's easily Van Sant's worst, and is a sad black mark on McConaughey's mostly excellent recent run. Ultimately, Sea Of Trees feels like an entirely appropriate title: it makes you feel like you're drowning, and it's full of sap.

    The Playlist Full Review