review by Bobby Blakey
I love a good documentary, but more so when it is a subject that I am not all that interested and it completely turns me around. The latest, Tree Man did just that as it offers up so much more than you might think from a story about a guy that sells Christmas Trees.
Tree Man follows Francois, the Tree Man who is far from his wife and three small children in Quebec, selling Christmas trees and living in a van on the streets of New York City. He does it for them, but this is home, too. Like the hundreds of Christmas tree sellers who descend upon the city from Canada, New England and even Europe, Francois delivers the magic of the season over a grueling month in his adopted neighborhood. He's a star, a storyteller, a Santa Claus in a sap-stained coat, a confidant, a friend, and a father figure to the local characters who are his New York family that need him just as much as he needs them. Going into this film I figured it would be interesting to see how this business worked, but I wasn’t expecting how much more there is to this career that you never think about. There is so much more here than a man selling trees. This is a story of a man who has taken on a career that not only brings the Christmas spirit to the masses in New York, but also relationships and mentorship to both his coworkers and customers. It was great seeing the amount of people that are loyal to these guys and how they want to take care of them as they essentially live outside for the entire month of December.
The film is a pretty straight forward documentary in format, but offers a glimpse inside a world that most have never seen and likely never thought about. This isn’t just a man showing up to work every day and selling trees, this is a man who leaves his family to make sure that others get the very best tree, interactions, experience and overall life changing moments year in and year out like a true embodiment of the Christmas spirit.
Check out Tree Man available now on iTunes and VOD from XLrator Media.