Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Tree of Life

On Sunday, I saw The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Hunter McCracken.

This is a film to walk into without expectations, and I wish I'd had that luxury.

I'd heard that I would love it; I'd heard that I would hate it. I'd heard that I would know what it feels like to be a baby, then a young boy. I was told my faith would be challenged. None of that turned out to be remotely true.

I didn't love this movie, but I most certainly didn't hate it—there is too much magic present for that to happen. It stirred intense emotions within me, though while it was doing so I was lamenting the fact it was about an hour too long.

I was impressed by Brad Pitt and Hunter McCracken, who play father and son. I was annoyed by Jessica Chastain (Mom), who seemed always to be running or floating or crying on her sad little suburban street.

I was disappointed that Sean Penn's appearance was so brief, and wondered why the grown-up version of his character was even there.

I was amazed by the beauty of what I was witnessing on-screen: the stars forming; rivers with dinosaurs jumping about; a beautiful baby giggling and cooing; a gorgeous, old tree our symbol of life throughout.

There are a dozen different ways this film could be interpreted—some feasible, others reaching. So I'll just express how I experienced it and wonder if anyone else felt the same way...

I believe the entire movie was meant to show God's perspective.

I believe we were watching the story of one family because most of us could relate to that in the easiest way (and the director's childhood was apparently similar to that of the film's young hero).

I believe it was meant to be a conversation by humans asking God why life is filled with such pain.

I believe it was meant to show that God's plan is merely a cycle and we're all just in each part of it temporarily.

I believe it was meant to show that God sometimes experiences life with us, which is why we must hurt.

I believe it was meant to show that God sees the world in whatever way He chooses: through his own eyes, through those of a child, or via a guilt-ridden adult.

I believe God is meant to be represented as an entity or simply as another branch of nature.

I believe it is up to us to decide.


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