Movie: The Tree of Life
I saw another film by director Terrence Malick years ago – Thin Red Line, and it made enough of an impression that when I heard about this film, I decided to do what I could to go and see it. Fortune smiled on me and I won a couple of free tickets to the film, and so a couple of days ago I caught a late session.
It’s easily the best performance I’ve ever seen from Brad Pitt – he disappears (for the most part) into the role, and is surprisingly un-distracting as a middle-class Catholic man in 1950’s Texas.
The movie is not for everyone. There are lots of long vignettes with no people onscreen, and it was during some of these that a number of people walked out of the cinema – it wasn’t clear where the film was going, and these people obviously weren’t prepared to put the time in to find out.
If you stick around, though, you’ll get a great story of faith and doubt, of the challenges faced by fathers, and by sons. There are insights into authentic family life that you won’t see in most movies that come out of the Hollywood sausage factory – there’s no hamming it up for the camera.
Watching this film was a chance to think through my own take on a wide variety of challenges that come up in family life. If you can cope with an approach that is quite unusual for US films, it will repay the investment.
You might like to read this summary of critical interaction with the film before you read other reviews.