The Tree of Life
I’ll admit I was in awe when I saw the trailer for The Tree of Life for the first time. It was just something vague, beautiful and entirely ambitious. In those aspects, the film doesn’t disappoint – as long as you’ve got your artsy shoes on…and you’re incredibly patient.
Essentially the story revolves around Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn), reminiscing about his childhood in 1950s Texas and his personal loss of innocence. (Not sure why Sean Penn’s name is so bold on the poster – he’s not really in it that much – Brad Pitt’s performance, however, is something remarkable). From there divulges the Mother’s Way, which speaks of the balance of Nature and Grace, and the Father’s Way, the way of competition and aggression. From then on comes the Universe, for lack of a better term, with some lovely opera and a timeline of the creation of life itself, as Jack’s story weaves in and out throughout.
There is something kinda ballsy and fascinating about how the film tries to present the audience with an abridged notion regarding everything, literally everything that has occurred since the beginning of time up to this very moment has thusly created what we know as who we are as a people and an individual person, while at the same time justifies the give-and-take nature of life and all of its inequities. It’s just the way things are, since always. Unfortunately, the movie decides to take its sweet time doing so. Sure, this gives one lots of time to digest while enjoying the scenery (because this film is something to be thought about), but I honestly think there could’ve been a little less.
That being said, The Tree of Life is indeed something original and worth watching, but sadly, some never-ending scenes and some utter visual randomness left me feeling a bit aweless, to the point of thinking: “Huh, that should’ve been…better.”
Final Grade: B-