The Tree of Life about nature versus grace

Mezmerizing, poetic cinema from Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick’s movies are more poetry than prose, tethered to conventions like plot and character by only the thinnest of connective strands. So it is in The Tree of Life, which is in one sense about a man (Sean Penn) recalling the grief, anger and joy of a childhood ruled by a loving but stern father (Brad Pitt) and in a more accurate sense is about everything. It’s an exploration, undertaken within the context of family dynamics, of how abstract emotions like love, pride and shame fit in an often brutal natural world. It’s also about god and the origins of the universe. With his sumptuous visual sensibility and knack for coaxing introspective slow-burns from big movie stars---Pitt gets especially, wonderfully lost in his role--- Malick bites off this huge chunk of thematic meat and chews on it in mesmerizing style.

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