The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

(PG) Icon DVD/BD

The Tree of Life has certainly made a strong impression with its release earlier this year. It was both booed and awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or. Among critics, the film has been called pretentious and awarded highest scores available.

Written and directed by Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line) Tree follows the story of Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn), a middle-aged man who looks back at his childhood in 1950s American suburbia while struggling with the conflicting views of the world his parents taught him.

His mother (Jessica Chastain) is forgiving and gentle, while his father (Brad Pitt) is the disciplinarian. Brad Pitt’s performance was the most relatable in a film which otherwise has very little heart and almost too much soul.

During the middle of the film I was confronted with fear, uneasiness, nostalgia, humour and wonderment. But the end, however, left me bored and without answers.

Malick’s mastery in most elements of film-making is astounding. The photography is beautiful, the production design perfect, and the lengthy sequence of the creation and evolution of the universe, including (yes!) dinosaurs, while not for everyone, is absolutely stunning.

My brother, one of the most intelligent and concise people I know, left the theatre with nothing else to say except, “Well … that was weird.”

I shared his sentiments exactly.

Jasmine Edwards


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