July 22, 2011

Must see movie!! "The Tree of Life"

***Two VERY important things must be addressed before I go on.....
  1. You MUST see this movie!  It is amazing! 
  2. You MUST be prepared or you might walk out and/or not be in the right frame of mind and completely miss out.
So to start, Robert and I had a lot to celebrate yesterday. First and foremost he got his passport!!  We were really worried since Robert changed his last name to mine at the time of our marriage and they were really balking at that.  But, they obviously accepted all of his paperwork and we are good to go! 

Robert also returned from So. California yesterday morning and his job interview at a Long Beach area police department went very well.  I wish the location was closer but we both feel strongly that with the current economy and being in the middle of the adoption that we need to be grateful for what he can find.

So, in order to celebrate, we decided that we wanted to go on a date night to the movies.  We brought food with us so that we could save the money and headed to Sacramento with mustard flavored pretzels, cheese, and a jug of crystal light.  Hmmm, I guess that is our version of a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.......

We happily munched on the drive while I prepared Robert for the movie we were about to see.   http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thetreeoflife/

So I mentioned having to "prepare" my husband.  This is NOT a movie where you plop down in the seat and watch over-stimulating flashes of action and simple predictable mind numbing plots.  It is more of an "artsy" film and neither of us tend towards that genre. 

I decided to go based on this article in LDS Living:

This film is not a Mormon film though, and I think that it could be enjoyed by those of all faiths.  Even those that aren't religious at all could enjoy it (although I will warn you that it may make you begin to ponder your spiritual beliefs)

Since I knew that the movie used symbolism, I felt a bit of anxiety leftover from highschool/college literature class and imagined that I would be lost.  I told Robert as we were walking towards the theatre that I was afraid that I wouldn't "get it" or that I just wouldn't be deep or spiritual enough.  Robert just laughed at me until we got inside......

There was a sign on the counter that stated there were NO refunds on this particular movie if you walked out.  It stated that if you weren't familiar with Terrence Malick movies that you might prefer choosing a different film but that once you paid for the tickets, they would not refund them or listen to the complaints.  Then, after purchasing the tickets, we turned a corner to see the cardboard advertisement for the film.  It just raved and raved about Malick spending 30 years to make the movie and how amazing and genius it was!

Sooooo.....which was it?!?!?

What a mix of confusion I was in while going inside that theatre!!

It is an odd movie....and there was a couple that walked out after only about a half an hour. 

But, please, please, please, give it more of a chance!

Once I decided that I didn't need to think so hard or worry that I wasn't immediately finding a plot, I was able to just relax and enjoy the extraordinary cinematography and music.  And, there IS a plot or rather, there is meaning....and you will find it if you just decide to enjoy the movie for what it is rather than what you expect or want it to be. 

Also, for anyone who has lost a child.....there is an amazing message and pivotal part in the movie that could provide a much needed release.  I won't say anymore so that I don't ruin it....

Here are a couple of beautiful quotes from the film that really stuck in my mind:

"The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by."

"Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive."

I was absolutely crying in several parts of the film.....not because it was necessarily sad as it is definitely not a "Steel Magnolias" or "Terms of Endearment" type of cry fest.  It just really touched my spirit.  I felt that I understood it more on a spiritual level than I did on a logical and understanding level.  Here are a few reviews that might explain it better:

"I saw this movie twice in the cinema and was moved each time. What a beautiful and inspiring piece of art. Like anything spiritual and inspiring you want to share it with everyone but, not everyone is ready to hear it or understand it. I just feel blessed for the experience. "

"The Tree of Life is a prayer, a requiem, a memory, or series of memories, impressions, glimpses, visions of light and shadow, a poem, a reverence for life and love. Most truly great works of art are not created to be popular, or understood by everyone all the time. Rather, they require from us patience, understanding, perception, sensitivity, meditation, transcendence, and yes, even spirituality. They are multi-layered, filled with meaning, symbolism, and insight into the human experience in all its complexity. And they often defy contemporary conventions and models. They sometimes jar, push, force, disturb, purge, sift. But they also teach, impress, awe-inspire, invigorate, exalt, even heal. And they endure, as surely this film will. We may judge this film; but, as with all creative masterpieces, it will now and forever always judge us. "
"A movie for the imagination and wonder of life and the universe. It is slow, meandering and ponderous. Such is life. Amazing visuals. Can't wait for the blu-ray. Bring a positive frame of mind, and let your body and soul be enraptured."
There are also many many people who didn't like the film at all and had the absolute opposite reaction:
"I like Sean Penn and can like Brad Pitt, I also decide on which movies I see by the ratings given here...This film for me was indeed pretentious and boring, to me there are NO redeeming features!"
"Forget about being pretentious, this film is simply not engaging in any way. Several people left early on, presumably to take up the offer of a refund - they were the lucky ones. We decided to stay and sit through over two hours of disjointed ramblings on the American family unit and it's relationship to the greater universe. By no means am I claiming to fully understand what this film was about, however I do know that I was bored to tears."
Here is one in the middle:
"Loved and hated it. Its the kind of film that provokes excessive reactions - which are interesting. It may divide audiences, but the division for me was internal. There were moments of cinema in this film that are almost too beautiful. Then there are heavy cliches (cue masks floating through water, stepping through door frames). Unlike Thin Red Line - the monologues become trite and representative of one deindividualised voice. There is also a feminist critique to be made here. It has to be seen but very flawed genius. Wanted more and less at the same time."
If you go see it....please post a comment and let me know what you think!  Sorry, no refunds! :-)


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