Oct 27, 2011
Tree of Life
I finally got around to seeing Tree of Life by Terence Malick!
I started watching this with the idea in my mind that I will probably hate it or think it is too much for me. Let's just say that I was right, but I got a few surprises, as well!
The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it's a unique one, not something you normally see. You love it or you hate it! There are few chances to get in the middle (surprise, surprise, I am there, anyway, moving on).
The film starts with the story of a 1950s family, with Pitt as the father figure, Jessica Chastain as the mother and 3 young brothers. It's the beginning of a beautiful, sad, yet very real story following the normal struggles that a family can go through. Here, Terence Malick shows his great gift and surprises the audience (well, actually maybe just me) with amazing camera movement: sometimes it's erratic, uneven, alert, but beautiful, it feels like he is playing with the camera, experimenting the best way to introduce us into their lives; other times, it's looks studied and fluid.
Then we go into the part that I don't understand and I think shouldn't even be in the movie. Although I loved the nature scenes and they were very well executed, I didn't really understand their relevance. I know, it has a deeper meaning that I am not getting! My loss!
Seeing this film, I couldn't help thinking about what Terence Malick was thinking and why did he choose to shows particular scenes that didn't feel necessary or interesting enough to be on screen. The whole movie, in my perspective, is like the mind of an artist, a creative, mad genius. You feel like he is telling the story, he is behind the camera- he has so many ideas and thoughts, that sometimes he can't put them in a simple, straight way, he doesn't know how to express them in a logical manner. It is very appealing and mesmerizing and you can sense there is more then meets the eye, but it's so chaotic and so artistic, that for the majority of the people seeing it, it gets confusing.
After the nature scenes, we go back to reality and the family. He shows us the love connection between the man and woman and then goes on to show and describe the life of the 3 brothers- their fears, the love they have for one another, trust, sympathy, questions, feelings etc.; you get that for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes and this where things go downhill for me. As much as I loved seeing Jessica Chastain unearthly presence, the fantastic performances given by the father (Brad Pitt) and the son(Hunter McCracken) and, again, the fluid way it was shot, 105 minutes is a bit too much. I got bored and was hoping, by the end of it, to just get it over with it.
I was so annoyed by those long, unnecessary scenes, that I didn't even had the patience to properly see and understand the end of the movie, who anyway seemed too deep and philosophical for me. Hey, I admit, I don't have that level of knowledge or appreciation of art- but I am getting there!
I am not saying it is not a good movie, because it is, but it is too much sometimes! Terence Malick tried to create an amazing artistic film, but didn't really stop and think about what the audience might want or understand. It might have won the Palme D'or, but does he really want it to be seen and loved only by a very small percentage of the population?Maybe he does and I am just stupid!
In the end, most of my friends (and by that I mean 90% of them) would hate this movie and walk out during the dinosaurs scenes, so I will not recommend them. I don't think you should see it either, unless you are a cinephile or love art in any form. Then maybe you should give a try!
Am I crazy? What did you think of it?
P.S. Just because I loved the cinematography and the posters are great, here are 2 more!