Thursday, July 28, 2011

Full Review: The Tree of Life

Grade: …Not sure I can give this movie a grade.

A man examines his complicated relationship with his father and his childhood in the 1950’s. He also begins to try to seek answers to the meaning of life, the origin of the universe and he questions the existence of faith.

The Tree of Life is a very complicated movie to discuss and review, so I will do my best. I would like to start by saying that this movie does not follow a normal narrative line and is not told in a linear form. It tends to jump around freely and at one point, there is a 20 minute sequence showing the creation of the planet and then life, so yes, there are dinosaurs in it. In the first 45 minutes of the movie, there is hardly a word spoken, mostly just a quiet voice over from time to time. It’s not until almost the 45 minute mark that the first clearly audible dialogue is spoken. A very large portion of this movie relies on visuals and music to tell the story.

The majority of the movie takes place during the 1950’s and centers on the O’Brien family, a father, his wife and their three boys. It shows that Mr. O’Brien was a very strict father who loved his children but had a hard time showing it. The oldest son, Jack, seems to have the most issues with his father. Every once in a while it flashes to modern day and shows a much older Jack trying to deal with modern life and trying to reconcile with his father.

Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Troy) plays the role of Mr. O’Brien. Pitt does a great job with this role. I don’t know how to talk about his performance because it doesn’t seem like much of a performance at all. The movie is shot in a way and the performances all so perfect, that it seems more like home footage or a documentary than a movie. The movie also features Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw and more.

The Tree of Life is an extremely existential movie and requires a different level of thinking to appreciate or even fully understand. It is a movie unlike any I’ve seen before. I did not give a grade on this movie because my feelings on it are much like the movie itself, very complicated. I feel that the concept is great and it’s something new. The themes it brings up are very interesting and will leave you questioning things after as well. The visuals and directing style were fantastic. However, the movie is a bit long and very slow going. Although, I don’t think I would speed it up because the pacing works for what the movie is. I was engaged in this movie as well as bored with it. I still don’t entirely know how to feel about it. Again, it’s all very complicated. See this movie if any of what I have said interests or intrigues you, otherwise, this movie is not for you.

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