Synopsis of Pruning the Family Tree

Log Line

Upon the sudden death of their abusive, philandering patriarch, four damaged women are forced to confront the material and emotional wreckage left in his wake while wryly attempting to put both his remains and his memory to rest.

The Story Synopsis

Pruning the Family Tree is a black comedy / drama about four women from one family who gather for a funeral and end up showing us that a family’s values aren’t always what they seem.

Joe Casey has just died, and his family has gathered at the Casey house for the upcoming funeral. We first meet Joe's wife of forty years, Marilyn. The marriage between them was motivated by need and desire, not love. In keeping with this type of marriage, Marilyn held the family together. Then there's Joe's youngest daughter, Barb. Barb has a slight physical handicap and, at age 36, still lives at home. She has grown very dependent on Marilyn out of habit not necessity. Next is Ellen, Joe's oldest daughter. Ellen left home when, at 18, she got pregnant and married. Since her divorce she has been independent, avoiding commitment and responsibility. Finally, there's Ellen's daughter Christy. Since her parents' divorce, Christy has lived with her father. For the last 10 years she has struggled to develop a relationship with Ellen, which Ellen has been avoiding. Christy's memories of the family are childhood memories of weekends at grandma's house, playing scrabble and drinking coke floats.

Turns out, Joe's good reputation in the community never made it home, and the four women struggle to overcome his previously unknown financial debts, as well as the damage he caused to each of them and their relationships with one another. Meanwhile, Ellen and Marilyn annoy Christy with their humorous approach to planning a funeral for the disdained deceased, and things get especially out of hand when the obtuse Barb implements her own funeral plans.

Ultimately, the four women are never more than one revelation away from digging their own graves, and the final revelation about Joe challenges their understanding of forgiveness and love.

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NEW—Watch the official Pruning the Family Tree movie trailer!

Behind the Scenes

Directed by: Fritz Green

Screenplay by: Dan Gordon

Director of Photography: James Veit

Produced by: Tina Gordon, Jason Eaton, Fritz Green, Dan Gordon, Melissa Green, Renee Michaels

Adapted from the award-winning
play Pruning the Family Tree
by Dan Gordon

Site by: Copper Cup Images

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