Befuddled by Tree of Life


Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” is interesting solely for two reasons:  Malick’s directing and the acting.  Malick delivers his usual awe-inspiring visuals and all the performances — Brad Pitt as the disgruntled Dad, Jessica Chastain as the Mom, and Hunter McCracken as the Son — are excellent when given something to work with.  Basically, one man’s (Sean Penn) remembrance of his late ‘50’s childhood, the story is at times a confusing mess that made no sense whatsoever, and in parts, put me to sleep.  And I’m a Malick fan!  The film takes on such broad themes as the creation of the Earth, grieving a loved one, the rampant Oedipal yearnings that hit boys at puberty, the frustration of Eisenhower-era fathers, and the vagaries of childhood and, in the process, totally befuddles the audience.  Tree of Life, like a Seinfeld episode, is about nothing.  Highly pretentious in its experimentalism, this film is only for two types – the most ardent of film aficionados or stoners, who will marvel at the visuals.

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