I don’t know what the hell this movie was.

The Tree of Life is the story of a man with a wife and three sons interspersed with visual imagery of nature, natural occurrences and other elements of life. I think the point is to be reflective about life. Not sure…

Brad Pitt plays a father raising his three sons in the 1950’s. HIs style could be construed as abusive and intimidating, but, father’s in the 1950’s were very much like Pitt’s character. He was tough, but, not affectionate. He was intent on raising real men in every way. At one point, Pitt’s character went away on a long business trip and you could feel the relief of the sons. It’s the only section of the movie for which I was sure about what was happening.

I really didn’t appreciate any of the performances in this film. Pitt’s character was not likable at all and none of the transitions were explained very well. At some point, I think one of the son’s was killed, likely at war, but, I’m not sure which one. There was very little talking, even when the characters were on screen.

But, mostly, there was a lot of imagery. At least half of the film showed different scenery; Space, volcano’s erupting, streams and creeks, outer space. In a film that ended up being more than two hours, the nature scenes covered one hour. There were long stretches without any people in them… without any dialogue… just scenery.

It would have been more effective if the film had been an hour and a half, showed mostly the family and BRIEFLY intertwined the world and its wonders.

And Sean Penn was in the film as well, but, spoke no words. He represented present day and my guess is that he was one of the sons as an adult. Again, not 100% which one.

I get the attempt by Terence Malik to be somewhat avante garde, but, this interpretation was too long to be effective. Before I saw this film, I heard it was a bit odd, but, had no idea it was THIS. Certainly not an Oscar contender.

If you haven’t seen it already, don’t rush. And give yourself about 4 hours to watch it – you might want to take breaks in between the oceans and the rivers. Actually, let it run – the scenes with the oceans and the rivers are sometimes 15 minutes – perfect timing for a bathroom break or to get more booze…