Directed by: Terrence Malick
Release year: 2011
Lead actors: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Summary: The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.
The Good: Well, it’s a Terrence Malick film. One thing that Malick always delivers is beautiful imagery and The Tree of Life is no exception. With the cast, of course the acting was superb. And, I know that many will disagree with this, but I never found myself bored with it, which is kind of impressive if you continue on to read “the bad” section..
The Bad: Well, it’s a Terrence Malick film. Unlike the portion of our theater that walked out, I knew what I was getting into. I don’t know that I’d call myself a huge Malick fan, but I definitely appreciate his work. However, the 30 minute sequence of nature, planets and other “meaningful” imagery about 20 minutes into the film even began to wear on me. I understand the symbolism behind it, but really. Was it necessary or just a tactic to weed out uncommitted moviegoers? Dinosaurs? Really?!
As for the rest of the movie, I found myself.. confused. Like what the heck was up with the third son? Did he die? Why didn’t he talk? WTF?
I get the overall meaning and I admire the thought behind it. Plus, like I said, it was beautiful.. but at what point does a piece of art become too abstract? The Tree of Life was either pure genius or utter drivel that Malick knew pompous hipsters would eat up. I guess I find myself in the middle.
Overall recommendation: If you’re a Terrance Malick fan, you’ll like The Tree of Life. If you’re an average moviegoer, don’t let Brad Pitt and Sean Penn draw you in. You’ll end up walking out.
IMDB rating: 8
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 86% (Fresh)
My rating: 7