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At Theaters: 2/27/1998 On Video: 7/21/1998
Rated: PG Length: 1 hr. 57 min.
Internet: None Found Movie ID: 029813
Studio: Paramount Pictures Corp.
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Storyline Heading

Having suffered the loss of his mother and father, Little Tree (Joseph Ashton), an 8­yearold Cherokee boy, goes to live with his grandparents (James Cromwell and Tantoo Cardinal) in the backwoods of east Tennessee. Enveloped by the warmth and wisdom of these two caring souls, he experiences for the first time the awesome beauty and wonder of nature and the wisdom of the Cherokee way. The education of Little Tree is about to begin.

Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama - The pacing may be a bit too slow and leisurely for most. But with its simple story and modest yet impassioned execution, LITTLE TREE builds an honest, natural poignance that most should enjoy.

Please note that the story does not follow the book in many instances.

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Cast and Crew Heading
James Cromwell (Babe)
Tantoo Cardinal (Dances With Wolves)
Joseph Ashton (The Little Rascals)
Graham Greene (Dances With Wolves)
Wri/Dir: Richard Friedenberg (Feature Film Directorial Debut)
Producer: Jake Eberts (The Howling)
Production Notes Heading
About The Story
Background Information
About The Production
Content Heading
PROFANITY: Strong, not often, no F-word, 7 GD's
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: The making and drinking moonshine is shown
ACTION: One foot chase
COMEDY: Several humorous moments

Pictures © Paramount Pictures Corp. ®
All Rights Reserved.

Critic's Review Heading
Above Average
Based on the novel by Forrest Carter, terrific 11-year-old newcomer Joseph Ashton plays Little Tree, an 8-year-old Cherokee boy who learns about his Native American heritage and the way of the world while living in the Smoky Mountains with his grandparents (James Cromwell and Tantoo Cardinal, both excellent) in 1935.

This does not sound like the most exciting of scenarios, andpacing may be a bit too slow and leisurely for most. But with its simple story and modest yet impassioned execution, LITTLE TREE builds an honest, natural poignance that writer-director Richard Friedenberg's would not have been achieved through hollow melodramatics.  Friedenberg cannot completely escape some clichéd false notes (in particular one contrived deathbed scene), but as a whole, this sleeper strikes its share of emotional chords.

Full review unavailable due to very limited release schedule.


Opinion Heading

Based on an Exit Polling of 35 Moviegoers

Ages Age Group
Your Probability of
Enjoying This Movie
Movie To Friends
1-12Children (M/F)
20-29Yg Adults (M)
Fairly Low
20-29Yg Adults (F)
Fairly High
30+Adults (M)
30+Adults (F)
*Possible Ratings: Very High, High, Fairly High, About 50/50, Fairly Low, Low, Very Low.

About Our Opinions

Be sure to read the DETAILED OPINIONS
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Beginning life anew in his grandparents' two­room cabin high in the Smoky Mountains, Little Tree learns the history of the Cherokee Nation, how to live in harmony with nature, stand on his own two feet and respect his fellow man. Hiking on wooded trails, fishing in pristine waters and basking in the glow of firelight, Little Tree discovers the serenity only nature, family and self­confidence can provide. He is transformed from a shy, nervous boy to a young man with a wealth of knowledge and a depth of character.

His Indian grandmother and white grandfather instruct him in traditional Cherokee culture while tutoring him in reading and arithmetic. Willow John, an enigmatic medicine man and healer, explains the history of the Cherokee Nation to his eager pupil.

Their lives are dealt a shattering blow when local authorities discover the moonshine still that provides the family's only income. The grandparents are reported to the state welfare department, and Little Tree is sent to the Notched Gap Indian School. There he receives an education of a much different sort. Stripped of his Indian name, he is exposed to injustice, prejudice and cruelty. He is further degraded when his frank answer to a question about nature results in a harsh punishment. He is locked in a tiny attic room and forced to remain there until he has admitted his mistake. Little Tree can not understand what he has done wrong.

Little Tree relies on gazing at a star ­­ the Dog Star ­­ to get through his lonely nights in confinement. The shaman Willow John senses Little Tree's distress and sends Grandpa out to return him to his family, forest, and identity ­­ to the place where he belongs.

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