Cannes Day 5: More bad news for ‘Sea of Trees’

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“The Sea of Trees,” starring Austin’s Matthew McConaughey, continued to take lumps Sunday in trade publications in Cannes.

The Variety headline said: “‘Sea of Trees’ Goes Down With Ship” and then proceeded to attack the script by Chris Sparling, calling it a “risibly long-winded drama,” with the film’s final passages offering “an insipid pileup of narrative manipulations, quasi-supernatural twists and earnest, whispery philosophical refrains.”
Actors Naomi Watts and Matthew McConaughey attend the "The Sea Of Trees" press Conference.. (Franck Robichon/Getty Images)

Actors Naomi Watts and Matthew McConaughey attend the “The Sea Of Trees” press Conference.. (Franck Robichon/Getty Images)

The Hollywood Reporter noted in its headline: “Gus Van Sant disappoints with a sappy, self-indulgent melodrama, officially ending ¬†Matthew McConaughey’s exceptional recent run of top-notch performances.”
In the body of the review, critic Todd McCarthy said: “As the character sinks deeper into wet, self-pitying gushings, McConaughey’s performance conversely becomes less expressive and more ordinary, to the point where you simply don’t care about how he feels and what happens to him.”
In the Rambling Reporter column in the same edition, Gary Baum and Chris Bardner said that “The Sea of Trees” landed “like a toxic stink bomb.”
“People were baffled,” he wrote, “with many noting that it was the worst movie in competition since ‘The Brown Bunny’ gave festivalgoers something like 10 minutes of Chloe Sevigny servicing Vincent Gallo a dozens years ago. They’re wrong: ‘The Sea of Trees’ is worse.”
Critics at Screen International, which has a four-point scale for ratings, gives “Trees” the worst score yet among competition titles. It gets 0.6, not even a one, with four out of 10 critics giving it an X, or no stars. No one gave it more than one star.
Read my Cannes review of “The Sea of Trees” and my report on the film’s press conference, which included McConaughey.

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