Review: The Wild Pear Tree

The Wild Pear Tree is a contemplative, beautifully minimalist story about the clash between youthful idealism and the world’s often harsh realities.

The movie centers on Sinan, a young man who returns to his quiet hometown in the country after graduating college. He has high hopes of becoming a writer and fights hard to pull together the money to publish his book. He seeks support from everybody from the town mayor to a local business owner to an established writer. However, his dream of becoming a successful author routinely hits roadblocks that include the cold-hearted economics of the real world, his father’s gambling addiction and, frankly, his own insolence and naiveté.

Though it is a Turkish film, Sinan’s experience is one many can relate to. The English major who took a job in a grocery store or the International Studies major who became an insurance agent will easily see themselves in Sinan. The optimistic youth who discovers almost nobody wants what he is so eager to offer the world is a story that cuts across borders. Indeed, at times it is almost painful to watch as it is such a stark reminder of how cavalier and detached from reality that time of life can really be. In one particularly poignant scene, Sinan’s mother opens up about how short-sighted and hopelessly romantic she was in her own youth, while Sinan continues stubbornly refusing to accept the notion that anyone could see or understand the world the way he does.  

Sinan’s own story is enmeshed with dialogues that reflect social realities of modern Turkey. This can be seen from the very beginning when the town mayor gives a short speech about how lack of transparency breeds political corruption to the very end when Sinan’s father reflects on how the education system in the country has changed. While these are conversations that have been particularly relevant in Turkish society for some years, they are discussions that you don’t need to be Turkish to understand and appreciate.

The dialogue is truly what takes center stage in this film. The wind blowing through the trees is its soundtrack. The picturesque settings are its CGI. The simple, graceful cinematography keeps you engaged and intrigued for the duration of the film. The Wild Pear Tree is a testament to the struggles of finding your place in the world in a country that has long defined itself as a crossroad of humanity.

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Alia Knight

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