1997 / Director. Richard Fiendenberg.
The Education of Little Tree is based on a memoir of the same name by author, Forrest Carter. It tells the story of an 8 year old half-blood boy who is orphaned and is adopted by his grandparents. His grandfather is a white man and his grandmother is a Cherokee woman. The story meanders its way through a series of life lessons for the young boy as he attempts to understand his heritage from both sides, more notably his indigenous roots. It's a coming of age film, told nicely with a gorgeous wilderness setting and some strong anchored performances. The little guy in the lead is okay... it's not a stellar performance by any means but with the strength of James Cromwell and Graham Greene alongside him, the characters seem genuine. The original novel has caused a lot of controversy in the literature world with its author being exposed as a fraud. He was exposed as having no Cherokee bloodline and his novel was in turn reclassified as fiction. With this sort of controversy you'd think that no one would want to touch the story for an adaptation but this film did, in fact, come along after the fact and so it is presented in an entirely fictionalised way. It is not a true story. I first saw it on home video in the late 90s and enjoyed it a lot. Today I watched it for the first time since and still enjoyed it. If you have children with the patience for good storytelling then I recommend The Eduction of Little Tree.... although I reckon it would bore most kids.