131. The Tree of Life (2011)

From great heights

10/10
Directed by: Terrence Malick
Written by: Terrence Malick
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life comes forty years since his last film, and considering  the depth and scope of the film’s concept, I think we can say – it was worth the wait. Philosophical, poetic, deeply moving and beautifully shot, The Tree of Life attempts to explore the nature of existence through a personal story of experiencing and overcoming grief.

As Jack O’Brien (Penn) lets his mind wander back to the memories of his childhood, growing up in Waco, Texas, on the anniversary of his younger brother’s death, his contemplation of the past reaches into cosmic significance as all things are shown to be interconnected and interrelating.

The 40 year wait was worth it

Through the sensuality and intensity of Malick’s visual and sonic choreography in The Tree of Life, the audience are made to feel as though they are being injected into the soul and minds of the film’s characters. While some may view The Tree of Life as rather artsy-fartsy in its grandiose representations of the world’s creation, planetary movements and dream-like sequences, there is no denying that the film taps into the very essence of what it means to be alive in a highly original and unique way. Even though The Tree of Life doesn’t have a straightforward plot or a conventional structure, its Palme D’or claim is well-deserved as it returns to the fundamentals of visual pleasure and the inherent optical curiosity that we have as human beings.

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