The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.Written by
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.
17 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this