Leaves of the Tree is a journey into the realm of mysticism that accompanies the thought that there is some special power inherent in religious relics. The film opens with a scene set in Sicily during the Napoleonic Wars in which a young British officer is healed from a wound through a salve the leaves from a particular olive tree. In gratitude he adopts the young son of the peasant who saved him. Fast forward to the present day when word of the miraculous healing power of a tree in Sicily makes its way to a pharmaceutical/cosmetics company in the U.S. A small team heads to Sicily to study this and determine if it can be used to make money. There’s a bit of romance, a band of priests who want to use the tree for their own aggrandizement, and revelations about the history of this tree that goes back to biblical accounts. There is a certain “Dan Brown lite” quality to the story.
While this particular view of mysticism doesn’t resonate with my theological understandings, I do understand where it comes from and I appreciate the film’s belief in the miraculous and the potential for faith to bring healing and new life to those who are open to the miraculous in their lives. The question that is raised at one point in the film is if people are ready for the kind of miracle that this tree represents. That is a question we might all contemplate—if we are ready for the kinds of miracles that God may put before us in our own lives.