The Tree of Life (2011) Review

The Tree of Life (2011) Review

“The Tree of Life” is an extremely specific achievement that won the award for best film at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. This work by Terence Malick cannot be considered a commercial film, so I think it is my obligation at the very beginning of the review to suggest that this is definitely not a film for an audience that expects superficial entertainment from the film, but is categorized as an artistic achievement, for which many will think is brilliant or too pretentious.

“The Tree of Life” has neither a classic plot nor a narrative, so it would be insane to try to tell you the story of the film in more detail, if that can be called that at all. Instead, I will say that this film is a kind of visual and ethereal poem about loss, despair, God and the search for faith and forgiveness. From the very beginning, through whispering narration and abstract depictions, it can be established that this film will not respect the stereotyped structure of the narrative that is so forced in Hollywood, which will be a good thing for some and a bad thing for others. Of course, many films reject such standards, but not in such a large dose, which reflects the great risks that the director is ready to take.

After only a few minutes of getting to know the protagonists, the film embarks on a 45-minute birth of the universe through the director’s perspective accompanied by opera music in the background. Although the sequences are fantastic, I’m not sure I would agree with the choice of the director as such a marathon set of pretentiousness really affects the spectacle of the audience and their patience, whether something concrete will happen in this film, is there a more precise point and whether at all it is worth investing time and looking at this project to the very end.

In this film, there is almost no specific narrative, but depictions of the essence of life, love and emotions, told through fantastic visuals filled with metaphors that are aided by whispering narration to focus you on what the director wants to show you and is not transparent at first glance. From a technical point of view, this project is impeccable, but its content will certainly raise great controversies and sharp attitudes. “The Tree of Life” you will either adore or despise, of course depending on your attitude and interpretation of what art is and what pretentiousness is. I do not recommend this film to a wider audience, precisely because it is not commercial and has a difficult narrative. I would not like to compare, but I think that those who were delighted by the film “The Fountain” by Darren Aronofsky will enjoy this achievement.