Skip to main content


Based on 14 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 1 )
  • 25
    Walter Addiego San Francisco Chronicle

    Depressing. So is director Marshall Curry's avowal in the press notes that the film will leave viewers with "a more nuanced view of the world." show more

  • 60
    Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News

    Despite their efforts to address most sides of this complex story, each new interview leaves us wanting to know even more. Of course, that's the sign of a compelling film - but in this case, not an altogether satisfying one. show more

  • 60
    The Hollywood Reporter

    Curry and co-editor Matthew Hamachek assemble the wide-ranging material into an informative, compelling story line, although details about McGowan's upbringing and early years in the environmental movement slow the narrative down and some of the footage of McGowan puttering around his sister's apartment proves too mundane to hold much interest. show more

  • 63
    Slant Magazine

    While it may not pack the rollicking drama of his first feature, Street Fight, Marshall Curry's timely If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front likewise chronicles the personal tale behind political headlines. show more

  • 50
    Mark Feeney Boston Globe

    The problem is that the heart of the movie is McGowan. He's just not a very compelling figure. He's a bit doughy and inert. show more

  • 25
    Kyle Smith New York Post

    In the appalling documentary If a Tree Falls, a narrator referring to an arson attack by the Earth Liberation Front solemnly intones, "In one night, they had accomplished what years of picketing and writing had never been able to do." Well, yes -- terrorism does make short work of red tape, doesn't it? show more

  • 60
    Time Out New York

    Considering its incendiary subject, Curry's approach is disarmingly tame; perhaps reframing the debate in less volatile terms is some kind of lukewarm triumph. show more

  • 60
    Steve Ramos Boxoffice Magazine

    Instead of a topic documentary, If a Tree Falls becomes the personal story of a well-intentioned man whose passion for the environment leads to serious consequences. show more

  • 100
    Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly

    The film sweeps us up like a thriller, forcing us to at least ask whether terrorism like the ELF's (which targeted property, never human lives) might ever be justified. show more

  • 83
    Shawn Levy Portland Oregonian

    Never loses sight of the human beings at the heart of the conflict -- no matter what side of the conflict they're on. show more

  • August 30, 2011 wc00000000100563
    Report This User

    Fascinating, revealing and shocking. This movie reveals a story that most Americans have never heard. It tells the story of a group of Americans who believed so strongly in something they were willing to go outside of society\'s accepted norms to force others to listen to them through acts of terrorism. This movie highlights the fact that even an American can become a terrorist and it does so in such a way that you search your soul for the beliefs you have which are strong enough to push you to the brink, to become a terrorist. Every human has at least one belief that is this strong, but not all humans resort to terrorism to force their beliefs on others. The movie makes you feel both sides, which is not easy to do in any movie. This movie is a must see for all Americans.

My Settings

You are currently subscribed as: {email}


Get the latest reviews, movie news, photos, and trailers sent straight to your inbox.

Weekly Newsletter

Daily alerts


You're not following any movies.

These are the movies you’re currently following.

    Update settings