TREE OF LIFE… “The Emperor’s New Clothes…”

Saw it last night. A ton of work went into this baby. Not sure it was worth it. Before I went, I tried to get tickets at Fandango, because I knew it was going to sell out. At Fandango, it said the critics say “Must Go.” but the viewers say “So So.” I now know why.

It’s a mood piece on a grand scale, but it’s not got a discernable story. I found that to be a problem. It’s also very unsettling and depressing and is a sub-genre I do not enjoy, which is “Parents Deal With Dead Child.” Some people avoid Concentration Camp movies. Me, it’s dead child movies.

I finally got up about halfway through, went to the coffee shop across the street, had a Pellegrino and planned a new course for the fall semester. When my buddies came to fetch me, I asked one, “How did it end?” The answer: “Like it began.” I asked another one, same question: “How did it end?” The answer: “Like it began.” Exact same answer. I was thrilled I left early.

One said, “I felt like I was watching a bad movie and an art show at the same time.”

It’s GORGEOUS to watch, and I’m sure every image means a lot to the director, but it was so slow and anguish inducing and I never really knew what was going on and I tried and tried to give in to what he was doing, and not try to impose my need for story on what he was giving me… but I finally failed. I would recommend going to see it if you want to pontificate to your friends about all the wonderful stuff in it and act showoff smart, but to steer clear if you’re interested in anything other than anguish-y tedium.

The most damning quote from my buddies, “I kept waiting for something to HAPPEN.”



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6 responses to “TREE OF LIFE… “The Emperor’s New Clothes…”

  1. Chris Hugan

    I agree–this movie was absolutely awful. Don’t be fooled by the so-called “critics” who snarkily say “you don’t get it.”

    I got it, and I hope I NEVER get it again.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Had breakfast with a good friend yesterday… very intelligent fellow… he really liked it. I have to get with him again to see why he liked it. I value his opinion, but…

      I totally agree with you. People, pretending to be smarter than you are, will tell you “You don’t get it…” when there is nothing to get.

      I use the word pretentious with guarded care, but wow, does it fit in this case!!

  2. Hey guy

    You probably need new friends if they patronize you because you didn’t like a film.

    This film encompasses everything: life, death, spirituality, religion, childhood, adulthood, the universe and all its constituents. It’s everything, and at the same time, nothing at all. You may see the religious parallels as a parable, or you may see it as a contrast of empty prayers to a nonexistent deity. You may see the creation of the universe as a thematically poignant scene, or just a visceral treat.

    It evoked emotion, thought, conversation and appreciation for me. I thought it was a pretty damn good piece of art. If you didn’t get the same experience as I did when I watched this the first time, it’s a shame. Maybe subsequent viewings will alter these things for you.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I won’t be seeing it again, but am glad you liked it. It was about all those things, but not in a way that reached me on an emotional level, other than, as I said: anguish. My friend who liked the film was impressed at how everyone in the theater was silent, no coughing, no clearing throats… I was impressed too, but being on the edge of my seat with a sense of impending doom was not something I wanted to prolong.

      No doubt Mr. Malick knows how to make a movie. I just didn’t enjoy this one. It made no sense to me.

      And I probably need new friends, anyway.

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        Malick is wonderful and really knows what he’s doing. However, I don’t know if what he wants to do is worth the price tag that comes with it. We’ll see what TREE OF LIFE does when it gets a wider audience. People have to want to see the movie for it to have been justified, at least financially.

        I adored DON’T LOOK NOW. Amazing storytelling. Interesting that it came from a short story, which seem to make the best films. Tight and concise.

  3. JEF

    1) It’s a Terence Malick movie – ’nuff said.
    2) The quintessential “Parents Deal With Dead Child” film has already been made: Don’t Look Now.

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