The Tree of Life is a good movie. It is a deep one too. It asks many questions and provide no distinctive answers that matter to the world at large except those of our very own. It is also a movie that is a tad too long for many audiences, imho.
The Tree of Life is a movie for many adults but definitely not for children, despite the fact that half its cast is made up of children. When children are not matured enough, asking those very questions asked by the movie can present nasty consequences.
So, let's kick off this review with analyzing who will likely enjoy this film:
Photographers - For the many sections of this movie, it feels like a National Geographic documentary. The difference is it doesn't narrate but instead uses music as subtitle. In the context of the questions asked, the images evoke emotions which lead to even more questions and associations. Depending on how focused one is and how much one relates them to what's been happening in the world, this movie seduces and challenges our intelligence and knowledge. At some point, it becomes a philosophical journey for the audience. The beauty of it is not just in the many spectacular images of the planet but also in what they evoke in all of us.
Philosophers - Anyone who has not think himself/herself to be one will probably ask the very question at some point in the movie. Anyone who claims to be will have a roller-coaster ride on this one.
Parents - For those viewers who are middle aged now they will probably relate well. Some have authoritarian parent/s who brought up children like military personnel. Some may find the feelings evoked in this movie very familiar and uncomfortable. Questions like family violence, emotional abuse and love as one knows it may popped up in your mind. Hence, it's also great for parents and adult children. In some ways, it's also sad that many parents may love their children but they have no idea how to love in the "right" way and to only find out too late.
Adults - For many who are now in their adult age, I'm sure they see bits and pieces of their lives reflected on the screen. Will they find the answer to those questions posed? Will they like the answers they find while watching the movie? It all depends...
Christians, those who are religious & those who believe God exists - I'm not so sure if atheist or the most stubborn would enjoy the movie or see it the way I see it. God takes center stage in the movie and although it's a journey in search of one, until you can find, feel and know one, it's tough to relate. But, for those who believe in one, I think it's a movie they will enjoy. Spiritually wise, the are many layers one may go through in this film. The director doesn't tell you specifically what to see, feel and conclude. Instead, one may take whatever one is presented to during the entire movie. That I think is the beauty of this film. It's unconventional and it's certainly worth experiencing.
What this movie is not:
Entertaining - Too many questions about life and our motivations are asked. Visually, it is entertaining. The plot is not. It is not a movie about laughter, I mean. It is about love and life though.
Religious - Spiritual yes, religious, no (if I'm not mistaken). The background is Christianity though.
Conclusive - It doesn't give answers, it asks even more although it hints of possible answers.
Ordinary - It's not your normal fare (of entertainment). Evolution, asteroids, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, life and death all rolled into one. It's certainly ambitious in its reach!
What this movie is (imho):
Poetic & visually expressive
Enlightening & powerful
Worth the time
A tad too long!
Interesting - I have the urge to read the book as I want to find out what it tells me versus the questions it asked. I wonder if the layers I went through in the entire 2+ hours are in tandem with the spirit of the author and director. Not many movies offer such interaction as far as I'm concerned.
What I like about this movie:
The questions I asked myself as a result of associations
The answers I found (sorry, but this is for my personal keepsake ;-); everyone should give himself/herself the chance to find those answers through the film)
The artistic impression
The cast. Oh, it's not Sean Penn, Brad Pitt or Jessica Chastain. It is each and everyone of us who is present (in spirit) in the the entire length of the movie. Some of us have rebirths while others are changed forever.
In sum, this is an experience. Not a movie per se... it is growth and it is forgiveness (if you wonder what I mean, go check out the film ;-))
P.S.: Actually, it'd have gotten a +5 but 2 distinct things which exasperated me:
1) I was already sold 3/4 (or even 1/2 of the film) and then the director keeps on and on... It was like the salesman who didn't know how to close a sale.
2) There wasn't quite a distinctive conclusion as far as I'm concerned & it's not quite a human quality to not be able to find "closure" if you know what I mean. The film is like a process, a work-in-progress. It doesn't follow a pattern or set-up and I believe many would find it hard to just let it be. Its strength is also its weakness, in that sense. Naturally, depending on how you like to see things in life :)
Not forgetting what makes it a special movie to begin with is that from the beginning, I've no idea where it leads... and to be poetic about it, it's just like our planet and evolution, we have no idea where the end is or when it will be!!!
When I got out of the theaters for Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life“, every viewer was asked to put their opinion on a piece of paper as to determine audience reaction. It is a film that is very different. Terrence Malick’s writing and direction turns so many components, angles and layers that to appreciate it one either has to be used to a style of non-linear, unconventional storytelling and/or have a profound appreciation for vague, poetic voice-over to tell its … more
**** out of **** It's but once every few years - and sometimes every few decades - that the great Terrence Malick unleashes another one of his bold, bright, and beautiful cinematic visions onto the world. He unveils each project with great confidence; an attitude that could come off as self-absorbed, pretentious, and indulgent; while others find plenty to admire about the man. He's a quiet fellow, and enjoys keeping to himself; most likely an avid observer of nature, human … more
The Big Bang...Creation...Evolution...God...Religion...Life...Death...Family...These are the themes that Terrence Malick addresses in his brilliant new film, 'The Tree Of Life'. In my humble opinion, this is one of the most original films in cinematic history. It is also a film that will divide people...Some will absolutely hate it, some will be angered by it and some like myself, will absolutely love it. … more
You may ask yourself why a so late review on The Tree of Life. Aside from some personal matters I have to say that when I had the chance to write it I felt like there's so many things to write about this movie and that a shorter review will not be a fair exposition. Now, someone reminded me that I still have not written any review for this film and I was shocked to realize it so I instantly grabbed my pen and started to scratch my paper. How do you start … more
THE TREE OF LIFE Written and Directed by Terrence Malick Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn Mrs. O’Brien: You’ll be grown before that tree is tall. THE TREE OF LIFE is a true film experience. Writer/Director, Terrence Malick’s latest opus is an assault of the best kind on your eyes, your ears and your mind. It is mesmerizing from the moment it begins with a pattern of dancing waves … more
THE TREE OF LIFE Written and Directed by Terrence Malick Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn Mrs. O'Brien: You'll be grown before that tree is grown. Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE is the most polarizing film I’ve seen in ages. It was widely reported that plenty of patrons walked out and angrily demanded their money back while just as many fans vehemently defended it, proclaiming the film a modern masterpiece. In fact, this … more
Star Rating: Like a finely orchestrated piece of music, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is a film that challenges the power of description. It is, paradoxically, his most simple and most challenging work; rather than appeal to the logical desires of the mind – discernable plot, archetypal characters, a clear beginning, middle and end – he relies heavily on visual symbolism, creative editing, and meditative dialogue, most of which is internal. … more
I decided after 4 attempts not to try to review the movie, it's too overwhelming in both good and bad ways to stay a manageable review. I do have to say it is similar in structure to 2001 and the other Malick movies: The New Worls and The Thin Red Line. And as an amateur photographer I can say that the movie has photographers in mind more than casual movie-goers expecting an exciting plot.
It is what each of us takes away that makes it a powerful film. The highest evolution about humans and its relevance to the planet are being portrayed and yet it also hints of the end. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But, I wish it's slightly shorter ;-) Sensory overload & emotionally explosive!
The Tree of Life is a 2011 American drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or.