The Tree of Life: A Crisis of Faith

Guys, I have a confession to make.  Back in September, my boyfriend and I were in NYC for our anniversary, and we decided to go to a little theater on East Houston and see this new movie called The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt.  Roger Ebert said that it was amazing, one of the best films he'd ever seen.  Who am I to argue with Roger Ebert and a glowing recommendation like that?

So here's where I get to my crisis of faith.  No, not the crisis of faith that the movie actually wanted me to experience.  A completely different kind.  I had my faith in my own taste in film shaken.

Because this movie...I hated it.  This was the closest I've ever come to walking out on a film.  And I've cheerfully sat through Scooby Doo 2 and Cats and Dogs with younger cousins.  I thought it was pretentious, muddled, and overly grandiose.  And oh so pretentious.  Did I say that one already?  I was on board with the basic narrative of the family, with Brad Pitt as the strict father, and the little boys who are just trying to please him.  I was interested in that.

What I was not interested in, however, was Malick's theories on evolution and faith and creation.  Look, I'm sorry, when I go see a movie, I want to see something with a story.  Maybe I'm just not cultured enough, but I'm not into watching 40 minutes of images of space and dinosaurs and Jessica Chastain doing expressive things  and Sean Penn moping around before the narrative actually begins.  I'm sorry, but that's just not my cup of tea.

But here's the thing: everyone else loved it.  Even my boyfriend, who is the last person I would have guessed as liking art house cinema.  This is the first time that my opinion of a film diverged so drastically from the general consensus.  Like, The Tree of Life is topping Movie of the Year lists, and I think it's probably one of my least favorite films ever.  That and Dog Star Man.  (You might be noticing a theme here.)

So am I wrong?  Clearly, this movie is an artistic masterpiece and I'm just not intellectual enough to appreciate it.  Maybe I should just go watch the latest Transformers movie or Jersey Shore or something like that.

No, that's not it.  I'm not the one who's wrong here.

Alright, alright, it's not the people who liked Malick's opus either.  Whatever, if they saw something in this movie that I just could not connect with emotionally, that's great.  It's always nice when you see a movie that moves you or makes you think or see the world differently.

So, in conclusion, it's fine that people loved this movie, and it's fine that I hate it.  But sometimes it makes you question yourself, doesn't it?

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JokerXgg said...

Great review! Quick question though, have you ever seen the thin red line by Malick? Most of his movies are pretty slow when it comes to the narrative. keep up the good work, the reviews are fun to read.

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