The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Fantasy


The Tree of Life (2011) Poster

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.


6.8/10
156,777

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  • Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Guy Ritchie at an event for The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Jessica Chastain in The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Brad Pitt and Hunter McCracken in The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Q'orianka Kilcher at an event for The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Sean Penn in The Tree of Life (2011)

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23 March 2014 | Milo_Milosovic
8
| Epic and Exasperating?
Where to even begin with The Tree of Life? Any release from Terence Malick is highly anticipated because, let's face it, "prolific" is not exactly his middle-name. Malick's output of 5 Films in the best part of thirty years makes Stanley Kubrick look like a Roger Corman protégé. Ostensibly, The Tree of Life is the story of a young family growing up in 1950′s Texas. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are the parents of three boys living the suburban life. Whilst, Sean Penn plays the grown up older son reminiscing over these times. Here is where any attempt to continue with a plot synopsis collapses under the weight of the films impressionistic non-linear structure.

The Tree of life is a fundamentally polarising experience of the highest order. There will be those who view it as a mess. A sentimental, art-farty shambles. A two hour long perfume commercial stuffed with "meaningful" abstract shots and scenes. A melange of whispered preposterous platitudes and pretentious, "meaning of life" and infuriatingly glib sentimentality. They'll think it's rambling, mawkish, misjudged, ill-disciplined, lacking any narrative cohesion and packed with the kind of heavy handed-symbolism best left to a 6th form Emo's poetry. They'll think it's the work of a director who's lost the plot up his own arse and submitted a self-indulgent soufflé of a film that'll stretch their patience to breaking point. They will hate it. And, they'll have a point.

There will be others though who view The Tree of Life as an elegiac meditation on memory and grief. They'll think it's a lyrical and visual poem. They'll see discussions of familial remembrance, the friction between father and son, the birth of morality, the Universe and universal truths. They'll see a beautifully meandering and melancholic ode that eschews traditional narrative for a sumptuous visual lyricism that washes over them. They'll be prepared to lie-back and let it take them to more melancholic and meditative shores. They will love it. And, they'll have a point.

Guess, which side I fell on.

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