Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Tree of Life

So movies are (or at least used to be) a bunch of photographs shown in rapid succession. No movie has reminded more of this fact, than The Tree of Life. Half the movie is basically the story of creation/evolution... and the other half is the story of a boy growing up in the 50's. If that seems pretty random to you, it was to me as well. If you go a bit deeper there is definitely an overarching theme of God and his role in the world and people's lives. However, I'm still trying to figure it all out. As you might be able to tell, I'm not sure what to think of this movie.

I made it about 2 hours through this movie before I fell asleep (gives you an idea of how much it kept my attention). It was directed by Terrence Malick and stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. And while Brad Pitt was great as the strict father, Sean Penn was barely in the film (at least the portion I saw). The real star of this film was Malick's direction of the creation/evolution portion. Truly a work of art.

As I write this I'm still trying to decide if it was fantastic or a dis-jointed, pretentious mess. In looking at IMDB.com, it seems that people either loved it or hated it (a lot of 1 or 2 stare reviews and just as many reviews awarding 9 or 10 stars). What (I think) it comes down to for me is that the movie made me think; think about life, think about God and my relationship with him. That, paired with the beauty of the film, definitely brings up the score a little bit. I give it a 6.5/10.

Definitely watch this film and let me know what you think... because I'm still trying to figure it out.


  1. I'll post a full response tomorrow, but I will say I rated it higher than 6.5. Also, I think the trailer is incredible.

  2. Agreed. The trailer is what made me incredibly excited to see it. Perhaps I should have seen it in the theater where the visual aspects would have been more amazing.

  3. I will most my thoughts soon as well since I named this my top film of the year. It definitely is a love it or hate it film. I saw this in theaters and I initially didn't think much of it. I saw it again recently on Blu Ray and loved it. This is a great American film by a great American director that basically attempts to encompass the entirety of human existence on Earth (an aim it often succeeds at and sometimes fails to accomplish). It covers topics from grace, nature, God, tragedy, mourning, childhood, the American Dream, and even dinosaurs. This is a film you can easily over analyze but that's also what makes it so great; there are so many themes to soak in an discuss. It is moviemaking as an experience more than it is entertainment. Im not suggesting that everyone needs to like this film (or name it the est film of the year as I did), but I find it hard to believe that anyone who watches this film won't come away with something to think about and discuss. Looks like we will have a bit of a discussion about the film ourselves.

  4. Here's my take:

    I'm a big fan of Terrence Mallick. I think The Thin Red Line is incredible. I went into this film expecting it to be pretentious, weird and convoluted, but I walked away with a different impression. I agree that the film was really interpretive and I'm not even sure what it all meant. In fact, Sean Penn has been very verbal about his discontent and confusion with his role and the film's focus and plot. Having said that, I appreciated the beauty of the film ad its originality. It was more of an artistic experience than a straightforward film. I like it for the same reason I occasionally like a good painting. I wouldn't want to go to the museum every day (and I don't want to see this movie again soon) but when I do go I enjoy the experience.

    Also, like The Descendants, I saw the film on a vacation I took with Melissa to San Diego this summer. We saw it at a small downtown art house theater. The ambience and company were likely influencial as well. She hated the movie though and made it known about 10 minutes in, but I enjoyed it anyway. I rambling now. That's my take.