Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

The Tree of Life

Before I praise Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life I will let you know that not everyone will enjoy this film.  The purpose of this film is not to mindlessly entertain you for 2 hours and have you never reflect on it again.  This film will stay with you.  It is a beautiful piece of art about humanity and the deeper questions of life.  Malick is a brilliant director who has only made 5 films over a 38 year time span.  All of his movies are art films with similar characteristics.  There is a heavy focus on visuals and minimal dialogue.  Most of the important dialogue in his movies is narration from one or more of the characters.  I am a fan of Terrence Malick, even though I didn’t care for his last film The New World (2005), and this film does not disappoint.

Malick is the opposite of everything you find in Hollywood.  He doesn’t live in Hollywood and he is a recluse who does not appear in public or speak to the press.  He maintains complete control over his films and produces meaningful art, not what some studio believes will make money.  There has been a lot of speculation about The Tree of Life since Malick is such an intriguing person, and since it stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.  I was a little bit leery when I heard some scenes were going to include dinosaurs and Malick was filming weird chemical experiments.  All I can say is that The Tree of Life exceeded my expectations.

The Tree of Life is a semi-autobiographical film about growing up in Waco, Texas.  The film also tackles subjects such as creation and the afterlife.  It is a spiritual film which opens with a quotation from Job 38.  It also explores loss and death in a way no other film has.  I am always leery when filmmakers take on religious subjects.  I am thankful they do and I wish they would address serious subjects such as religion more often, but my concern is that religion and religious people are often portrayed in a negative light.  There is no need to worry about that here.  I would describe this movie as reverent.  There is a respect and appreciation for God throughout the film.

Not only does the film touch on the subject God, but it also explores the falleness of humanity.  We see the main character lose his innocence and wrestle with these changes.  We also see grace and nature contrasted in the husband and wife.  The film also shows how humans respond differently to grief.  Many people have already commented on the humanity of this film.  They say it reminds them of their childhood.  Any film that can carry you back and allow you to relive the events of your childhood is doing something right.  The Tree of Life not only causes you to look back, but also causes you to look at the present and the future.

For many people The Tree of Life will move too slow and it will not have enough dialogue, but for those who spend the time and effort to watch this film you will be blessed.  Malick has created a masterpiece.  It is visually and audibly pleasing and it causes you to contemplate the deeper things of life.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38


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