You Can Be A Winner At the Tree of Life!

I always feel a slight twinge of guilt when there's an entertainment entity that everyone loves and I just don't get. There's really no reason for it; not everything is going to be to my taste, no matter what its pedigree. When it comes to Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, though, the guilt is a little worse than usual. It's a beautiful film, and has clearly deep messages about human nature and our complex emotional lives. It's also a crashing bore. Normally, I'd blame that on the filmmaker, but it's entirely possible that the blame for me not loving this movie falls squarely on my own shoulders.

A friend gave me a small challenge: Sit and watch the "formation of the world" sequence with no distractions. No bathroom breaks. No pausing to go make a sandwich. No checking to see if someone has made a move in a Words With Friends game. Just sit and watch and absorb this film. I accepted, and popped the DVD into the player. Fifteen minutes later, I was fast asleep in my chair. It didn't improve much from there. Feel free to take the following grade with an industrial block of salt, because my disappointment may have nothing to do with Malick, the script, or Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, both of whom were just fine. Sometimes, a movie comes along that just isn't your speed, and this one left me snoozing in its wake.

Tree of Life: C-


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