The Tree of Life (2011)
Saw this film last night with housies. This is one of those films that you wouldn’t introduce to everybody – you either love it or you just don’t get it. It’s an extensive indie film (we’re talking 2+ hours) and I’d recommend an espresso beforehand in order to maintain arousal throughout the film. With limited dialogue throughout it’s packed with beautiful images and largely relies on such images to tell the story. In this sense, it’s open to interpretation. So make sure you’re watching it with a date so that you have somebody to dissect it with afterwards. In saying that, this is my rough interpretation..
Featuring big names and fab actors – Sean Penn and Brad Pitt (also one of the producers), this film required A-list stars in order to be acknowledged in competitive movie-land. Storyline revolves around a Texan family in 1956, largely the point of view of Jack (with Penn playing grown-up Jack) the eldest son of three boys. It explores family dynamics and his childhood which, I think, was one of mostly internal conflict as to how he fits within his family and the complex love-hate, hate-love relationship with his (at times) strict father (Pitt).
People may describe parts of the film as ‘random’, at the beginning there’s an introduction to the family during a rough time and a switch over to exquisite (albeit lengthy) images of outer space and nature (features extraterrestrials) – truly beautiful. It’s amazing cinematography and just astounding what can be filmed/digitally enhanced and transposed onto a screen. This is definitely one that needs to be viewed on a giant screen and not a laptop or tv. The ‘random’ imagery bits reminded me of the visually appealing movie ‘Melancholia’ (which I really enjoyed)
Also special mention to the wonderful actors - Some of the best child actors I’ve ever seen. They depicted brotherhood and sibling relationships with such ease, truth and authenticity. True representation of youth and innocence, they did very very well. I think we’ve got some future super actors (a la DiCaprio/Cusack/Cillian Murphy) in this film.
The Tree of Life proves that less is more (and possible in film) and that simplicity is sometimes all that’s required to send a message to your viewers and one of the most powerful ways to tell a story. Watch it with a coffee and movie mate, giant screen essential.