A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Here is the story of two boys coming of age in two strangely combined families. Poetic, romantic and idealistic, it begins in 1939 and concludes after the end of World War II. It's not strictly speaking a Holocaust movie, although the dark cloud of that atrocity arches overhead.
The setting of "Simon and the Oaks" is a Swedish coastal community, where we meet Simon (Jonatan S. Wachter), a dreamy young boy drawn to the solitude of an old oak, where in a tree house he devours books and is filled with ineffable longings. His parents, Karin and Erik (Helen Sjoholm and Stefan Godicke), are salt-of-the-earth types, his dad a master carpenter. Inspired by his books, Simon is drawn to enroll in the local school. His father opposes this, seeing it as a threat to the family.
In the school, he meets a German Jewish boy named Isak (Karl Martin Eriksson), whose parents fled from the Nazis. His father, Ruben (Jan Josef Liefers), owns a bookstore in the town, and Simon regards with awe all the books he sees in its window. When a fellow student taunts Isak for being Jewish, Simon comes to his rescue and bloodies the bully's nose. Then Isak takes Simon home to meet his parents, who live in a luxurious flat above the store, filled with art and exuding sophistication.
Keep these characters in mind. There is more to them than we suspect. We gradually discover that Karin and Erik are childless and raised Simon after he was born to his unmarried Aunt Inga (Cecilia Nilsson). Simon's father was a German Jewish violinist who had a romance with Inga, which was cut short by the war. So Karin and Erik may have notions about why Simon is drawn to music and a life of the mind.