/The Last Tree

The Last Tree


Shola Amoo, the writer and director of this compelling drama, convincingly maps the passing of a young Nigerian boy from a pleasant and playful childhood to a dark and dangerous adolescence. This transition from a place he loves to an environment he hates causes him and those around him turmoil and heartbreak.

Femi (Tai Golding) couldn’t be happier than he is being raised by Mary (Denise Black), his loving white foster mother who lives in Lincolnshire, a beautiful rural area. He and his white friends enjoy playing in the fields, even splashing in the mud. One of their communal delights is sending a barbaric scream into the sky as part of their pursuit of wildness and freedom.

Femi (Tai Golding) saying goodbye to his foster mother (Denise Black).

Femi’s world is shattered when Yinka (Gbemisola Ikumelo), his birth mother, arrives to take him to live with her in a London ghetto. She is working and expects him to clean their small apartment until school begins. When he disappoints her, she beats him with a stick. It’s soon apparent that Femi dislikes her intensely. At school he is ridiculed for his feminine name and black skin.

But by the age of 16, Femi (Samuel Adewunmi) has toughened up and is chosen by a tough black hustler (Demmy Ladipo) to serve as his enforcer. Luckily, a teacher intervenes at just the right time and enables him to take a trip to Nigeria with his mother. There Femi decides to take care of some unfinished business crucial to his need to make his own way in the world.

Femi (Samuel Adewunmi) unhappy in London.

This is a convincing coming-of-age drama that raises questions about the foster care system, the situation of immigrants in England, the draw of freedom and independence, and the universal quest of young people to know who they are and where they came from. The story, inspired by the director’s own experiences, rings true on many levels.

Original Source