The Tree of Life is a great movie. But you probably won’t go see it.
It lacks a “clean” storyline with a nice, resolved ending.
It lacks a riveting “who-done-it” plot.
It lacks twists and turns in the plot with great action scenes.
Well, at least it does have a superstar actor in Brad Pitt! But it is a great movie.
Amazon’s page for the movie has the most succinct description of the plot, although it falls way, way short of what the movie is actually about (kinda makes me laugh to see a movie like this simplified into two sentences):
The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950′s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father.
The power of this movie lies in the intersection of the spiritual and physical. There’s something else out there, so to speak, but it’s not aliens from outer space! (Special effects legend Douglas Trumbull [2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind] worked on this movie, which does not surprise me.)
You don’t get a clean integration of the spiritual and the physical in this movie. You don’t have a Patrick Swayze ghost talking to someone in the real world. Aliens don’t communicate via a nice keyboard melody and land on earth.
The greatness of this movie is how Terrence Malick tries to create with video what impressionist painters do with brushes. It’s not for everyone but if you like Art, you’ll love this. If you like poetry, you’ll love this movie. If you like a movie maker who is trying to hit a home run, you’ll like this.
Finally, this quote, which I just found but only confirms what I already guessed while watching the movie: “… Malick is a devout Christian and this is his big “God” film.”
Buy the movie here. I doubt you’ll catch it on the big screen ever again. You probably won’t watch it. But you should.
I talk about this movie in my book, available on Amazon. You should give it a read!