If a bittersweet film about beauty, and the loss of it floats your boat then you’ll love The Butterfly Tree.
This ravishingly-shot and quirky Australian film from 2017 is the visually stunning debut of its writer and director Priscilla Cameron and stars the very talented Melissa George as a lovely former burlesque dancer, Evelyn who opens a flower shop in a small town in lush Queensland, entrances a local teacher, Al, (played by Ewen Leslie) while bewitching a sixteen year old boy, Fin, (played by Ed Oxenbould) without realising that Fin is Al’s son. Fin’s love of beauty reflects in his hobby of gazing at butterflies caught under a tent he has rigged up in a fig tree. Sometimes he kills them and uses their wings to decorate a photo of his beautiful mother, Rose, who hanged herself when he was thirteen.
Evelyn starts a questionable relationship with Fin, which includes encouraging him to take pictures of her breasts thus speeding on his sexual awakening, but the photos are found by Al, so cue another fracture in the already rocky relationship between father and son, This is also not helped by Al conducting an affair in the house with a pretty young student at his school, Shelley, played by Sophie Lowe.
The film has had mixed reviews, with some critics not liking the art-house emphasis on beautiful visual effects, which they see as overpowering the narrative. However this viewer was hooked into the beautiful dream, with its four strong and believable performances, as it langorously unfolded towards a finale that will be, for many, a waking up to something more like a nightmare, which then ends happy.
The Butterfly Tree was launched by Eureka Entertainment Ltd in selected UK and Ireland cinemas last month, and a dual format edition (Blu-Ray and DVD) launches next month as part of Eureka’s Montage Pictures range.