December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

February 24, 2012

Tree of Life (2011)

When it’s over, if you're able to sit through the first act of the film (30 minutes in), then you may find the film does have some real substance.  I have to admit, I went into this film with a tainted mind.  Many of the people I spoke with who saw the film warned me against it and summarized it as being only a picturesque journey.  I almost didn’t sit through this film, but am glad I did.  The film was definitely different, unlike anything I would normally watch, but as the film progressed and passed the majority of what I call “the National Geographic documentary” look-a-like scenes, I started to really gage the symbolism and messages Director Terrence Malick was trying to convey through his very bold and creative interpretation of the origins of life and death.  Water plays a huge role in this film symbolizing birth, cleansing, and being reborn, while the earth represented growth and the natural cycle of life.  These two elements combined suggests that we are all interconnected in some way and tells the story about a fractured 1950’s suburban family whose eldest son, Jack, comes of age and must find a way to reconcile his broken relationship with his father.  The film takes place in two time periods – 1950’s and present day.  Actors Sean Penn plays the adult Jack, and Brad Pitt plays the inattentive father in the 1950’s.  Pitt does some great acting in this role, and newcomer Hunter McCracken was mesmerizing as the troubled young Jack.  With little dialogue and lots of visuals, this film serves to be an excellent film for students to dissect again and again, but for the general viewing audience, it’s either a journey of pure boredom or a renewed appreciation for filmmaking that’s artistically poetic as much as it is daring.

My rating:  3.5 out of 5

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