Speculative Fiction Saturday: The Tree of Life

the_tree_of_life_movie_poster_01Okay, this week’s film is so not speculative, I’m not even certain whether I should even begin to report on it. I seem to recall in many reviews that I have done before that I am tired of reviewing films that are only speculative because they have some fantastic elements in them.

The film The Tree of Life is kind of renowned for being ultra, ultra experimental. However, it is a perfect example of my 4 “I’s” theme this month (independent, innovative, inconsistent, and in-compassing an entire lifetime). It was directed by Terrence Malick, who has put out very few films in the past few decades. In fact, we have had more presidents in the past few decades then films from this man.

Remember how I said these types of films are pretentious? I would have to say that A Tree of Life is pretentious in a very subtle way. If I could describe the plot, it is essentially about a family in Waco Texas. Brad Pitt plays a father who is very stern and authoritarian toward his kids, while his wife is somewhat more liberal. That is essentially it, honestly. At least, this is the plot that I can see. The film has some odd tangents, with one of them being the creation of the universe, along with some dinosaurs thrown in for good measure. Why are these scenes in here? Maybe a better question is attempting to explain the ending, which features a “post-existence” that feels as “out-there” as the pre-existence in last-week’s Mr. Nobody.

I won’t bother spoiling any part of this film’s plot, but I believe that the purpose of this film is to mix the everyday and the extraordinary. It is pretty difficult to put this into film form with a traditional plot structure. I believe that The Tree of Life is meant to be more of an subjective experience like a visit to an art museum, rather than a film with an actual story. It’s a film that I would recommend, because I do remember getting emotionally caught-up within this film, even if I can’t really do a good job of explaining why.

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