CAROLINE: I was so excited to see The Tree of Life, since I so thoroughly enjoyed director Terrence Malick's last film, The New World.
RYAN: I was excited for the Brad Pitt and Sean Penn aspect, but didn't get to see this with you. How was it?
CAROLINE: I don't want to say I was disappointed, but I really didn't love it. First of all, Sean Penn is in it for all of 10 minutes and he barely utters a word.
RYAN: Ew, that's annoying.
CAROLINE: It's all about Brad Pitt, the redhead who plays his wife and his three sons, who are great. But the movie is... weird.
RYAN: How so?
CAROLINE: It's very moody and contemplative. It doesn't really follow a narrative per se, though it's mostly about this one family in the '50s. Brad Pitt is a very strict father whose kids both love and hate/fear him. The big problem is the length - about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
RYAN: Ugh, way too long.
CAROLINE: Totally. And I'd say about 30 minutes of that is basically a Discovery Channel special. A gorgeously shot one, but a Discovery Channel special nonetheless.
RYAN: Say what?
CAROLINE: I know. It's totally weird. There's a 20 minute stretch that is literally just scenes of waterfalls, animals, jellyfish floating in the ocean, rivers flowing, flowers, etc. I was like, seriously?
RYAN: I'm sure there was some point the director was trying to make, but it sounds strange.
CAROLINE: My thoughts exactly. He was trying to make a commentary on the origins of the earth or something - there's even a scene with CGI dinosaurs - but it was lost on me. Maybe I just didn't get it, but it wasn't a particularly enjoyable movie. The performances were good, but I didn't like the structure. And then at the end, it's just a scene of people wandering around a beach for a while. I think it's supposed to be heaven, but who knows.
RYAN: It all sounds very symbolic.
CAROLINE: It was a little too artsy for me, though it was beautifully shot. Maybe I wanted something more straightforward. Not that I can't handle a movie with a different kind of format; I just didn't love this one.
-- BOTTOM LINE --
CAROLINE: This movie isn't for everyone, and wasn't really even for me. Brad Pitt is good, but it's just odd overall. I wasn't really feeling the director's vision. And it's just way too long; all those nature scenes were too much. It's not at all something you need to see in the theater. I think Terrence Malick has made much better movies. You only need to see this if you're a die-hard fan of his.
-- RATING --