Tree of Life, The
Release date: May 16, 2011
Director: Terrence Malick
Screenplay by: Terrence Malick
Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
I was very, very hyped to see the movie. It has Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, the trailer looked amazing and Amy kept being jealous that I was going to see it before her.
Add to that all the good things you have been hearing about it, I was prepared to shed a bucket of tears, so it was really sad when I found myself snorting and getting mad while watching the movie, though it has it’s amazing moments as well. As of now, I’m still on the fence as to whether love or dislike The Tree of Life.
The film is part the story about a family; part the story of the origin of the universe, earth and life. It aims to show us what exactly makes us into who we are and, ultimately, become. As well as how little that matters when we are so small in the vast universe.
I really loved the parts where we get to see the family interact, Brad Pitt doing an amazing job as a father that is both a tyrant and a hero. He is so bitter about his life, thus enforcing his power at home. He tries to teach his boys the right ways of life, trying to toughen them up, demanding that they behave constantly. Then we have Jessica Chastain playing opposite him, as the mother, she is free-spirited and very soft. She often seems to have her head in the clouds, indulging her sons in the beauties of life.
The story is given in very small pieces of a puzzle, there is no real plot nor story, we follow the family as they grow and develop. Suddenly the boys are nearing adolescence, trying to find their ways in the world tackling the question we all tackle — love, sex, life and death. Among them, the story about life is unfold, and we are to be awed about the beauty of the universe, the beauty of humankind.
So far, I got you Malick. I can sense where you are trying to go with this yet the message is not that clear. I think that many will find The Tree of Life to be very pompous and artsy-fartsy, which I do, I find it to be 50% try-hard but 50% poetic stunning.
There is no denying that the story is very personal. I believe that Malick is trying to show his point of view about life. Sure, you parents sucked and therefore you grew up to become a somewhat bitter and sorrowful person. Sure, the pain you feel is breaking your soul, but what are you compared to the vast universe? What is your pain compared to the beauty and mystery that is life? Yes, we are a speck of sand and we should be happy that we even exist.
I think the best way to explain this movie is to compare it to a symphony. Every symphony has a story, but that story is never clear. Or, every symphony has a story that sounds different to every person that listens to it. Symphonies are complex — personal and oh so painstakingly beautiful, or sound like a bunch of crap — so is this film, which makes it a little bit confusing. I feel that Malick wanted too much with it, and I sense so many symbols are being thrown at us. Too much stuff is being presented so what am I suppose to focus on? Food for thought.
I think this is the longest review I have ever done about a movie. Which proves to show how undecided I am about it. I urge to discuss it more as to make up my mind. But… is there a reason to make a decision about it? I doubt it, I think I will let it stay with me as it is, rather than trying to understand what it was.
P.S It is a damn shame that they didn’t do more with Penn, he was in the movie for like five minutes. D.S