I saw Tree of Life tonight. I wanted to like it, guys. I really wanted to like it. However, I just couldn’t.
According to Wikipedia,
“The Tree of Life is a 2011 American drama film with experimental elements written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain. Malick’s film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man’s childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth… The film received widespread critical acclaim, but also polarizing responses to Malick’s use of technical and artistic imagery, directorial style, and fragmented non-linear narrative.”
So, visually, this film was a treat. It was stunningly beautiful, mixing nature, animations of the beginning of universe, dinosaurs, and 1950s Texas. This sounds like a wide range of things to be covered by one film. And it is, which is exactly my problem.
Nonlinear storytelling isn’t a turn-off for me. In fact, I find it refreshing. However, this film is not just nonlinear. It doesn’t appear to truly have a story line. I mean, there’s the overall story of Jack, a boy growing up with a selfish dad and a kind mother. But really, most of what I know about the film is inferred from my own conjectures.
I did like the tie-ins with the Book of Job, which were obvious to me from the start. I just wish that there hadn’t been so many moments that left me asking “What?” and scratching my head in confusion.
As my friend summarized it, “That movie was weird, trippy, pretentious and unfortunately written, but beautiful, visually speaking and in terms of tone and themes.”
Have you sen Tree of Life? If so, opinion?