Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Tree of Life …

… is not only a film set in my hometown, but I grew up a few blocks from where I’ve come to learn Terrance Malick lived while he was here (the setting for this film). And he’s only got about four years on me, too. You can take it to the bank, “I identified with it, in both time and place.”

So, how do you review something that is almost beyond description? Thoughtfully and carefully, I would presume. First things first, you will either love or hate this movie and everyone who sees it will come away with a different perception of its message. Likewise, I daresay, it’s not a film for the younger crowd for it contains way too much symbolism for those who’ve not had the chance to experience all life has to offer. It speaks of a different time and unless you were there you well might miss out on a great deal of its premise.

Is it a good movie? ABSOLUTELY! Four Stars out of four, from my point of view; but ‘tis more than a couple of hours entertainment. Creation symbolism abounds at its start; volcanoes erupting, Hubble telescope pictures of galaxies far away, oceanic creatures and special effects reflecting the dawn of time behind a beautiful score of background music. Cut to a telegram received, possibly late sixties, a son has died. Flashback to the fifties and that time of youth when games were played outside, trees climbed and bicycles ridden thru fields high with grass. That time when elementary age kids roamed their neighborhood playing en mass while searching for glimpses of adulthood. That first “coming of age” before that real one during our High School years, give or take.

Then, what’s the message? I’m not sure there is one, per se. It seems to be more of an accurate revisitation of a time long forgotten for us “boomers”, when Ike and JFK were Presidents and things seemed much simpler than they do now. BTW, this is a film with definite faith based overtones and the “Tree of Life”, if anything, represents that cycle of continuity we find in life and death and rebirth. I can’t tell you what you’ll come away with for it seems most personal for each individual viewer, but you might well like it and surely will have witnessed greatness, that I promise.


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