When you write a movie review, you are expected to put things into perspectives: know the director’s work, consider the public opinion, take into account the settings on which the movie was made, etc. But what I find more interesting is to only talk about the movie itself. What it made you feel, what it told you, what you got from it and how cinema grew thanks to it. I never saw any Terrence Malick movie, I saw The Tree of Life way after it was shown in theaters so here is my review on the film, and just the film.
The Tree of life is like a bad oyster: it’s supposed to be a fine product of gastronomy, it was raised next to other great products and approved by the finest chefs, but in the end, once you ate it, it gets you sick. I had to wait a whole month before I was over this stomach-movie flue and even now, talking about it, I feel nauseous. Kind of harsh words for a movie that got the Palme d’Or in Cannes a few years ago, I know, but it’s precisely the impact it got on people and cinema professionals that got me ill in the first place.
It feels like the director is saying “here is poetry by pictures, an art I just invented, telling you stories through subtle metaphors” when in fact he doesn’t really do anything new and the metaphors are thrown at us so brutally that anyone who miss them is probably blind. I’m not even going to go into the widely boring fake spirituality that we are supposed to get from the narration.
The ending got me more furious than Meet Joe Black’s did a few years ago, and that says a lot because, man, did the end ruin this great Martin Breast movie!
Of course, The Tree of life has great photography, acting and even storyline but, like a bad oyster, looks and reputation didn’t stop it from being distasteful. Let’s hope I like the next film I decide to review because I’m starting to sound really bitter.