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Movie Review: Tree of Life








This week is all about the movies. I've seen so many good ones recently--in theaters and at home--that I wanted to share. I'll have four days of movie reviews and a {This Moment} to wrap up the week.
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The movie Tree of Life had been on my wishlist to see for a few months before it came to the theater. It wasn't at the Ross for long, and I knew I'd miss it in town, being as Stefan rarely likes to pay for movies when we get Netflix. It came, it passed, and I thought I'd be watching it alone one nap-time in the future. When I went on a little weekend getaway with a friend a couple weeks ago, we decided we had time to catch a flick during the evening, and we agreed on Tree of Life.
A few things I'll say about it, first. We watched it at an incredibly late hour and it is long. Our tiredness and it's unique nature caused us to think it a little slower than it probably was. We didn't get out of the theater until near midnight. (yawn)
There is a photo-montage in the middle. My mom warned me, I had no idea. Dinosaurs were included. That's just what it sounds like.
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Now, for the review: this film is beautiful. And by beautiful, I mean it's an art film that was specifically made with nostalgic and aesthetic intentions. Every single frame could be a still picture. Simply for this reason alone, I thought it was worth the time spent watching.
The story, however, is a little bit deeper than most films nowadays. This is no "Hangover" and it's one that takes a little bit (okay, a lot) of work to process, understand, and follow with very little dialogue. I don't believe Sean Penn's character (an older version of the main boy) had any speaking lines at all. This movie is based around body language, silence, movement, and assumptions that are left unsaid. The story follows a family who grew from newborns to teenagers, and within that time period, try, loose, and accept the relationship, or lack thereof, with their father (Pitt).
The audience finds out early on that one of the sons is dead, and that causes the oldest son to ponder his memories of his father, and his mother, and then his brothers. The mother and her thoughts and day-dreams are also heavily projected in this film, as she relies on the promise of grace and a bigger presence surrounding us all.
People, this is a deep movie, not something to watch while folding the laundry and trying to make sure the toddler isn't eating popcorn. It's a sit-down, get your snacks beforehand, date night kind of movie. One where preferably you've got time to go out to coffee afterwards and talk about it.
I give this a 4 out of 5 simply for it's lovely and poetic nature, but even I can't really comment well enough on the story line because I feel I only understood part of it. Then again, I was pretty tired!
PS-The dinosaurs totally tripped me up. Just sayin'.

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