I thought I should simply say – “I saw it.” Sometimes words are really needless. I didn’t have to say anything about this film but just felt it. (But at the same time there's so much it can be said about this film, I won't even say half what I could discuss.) But I had my moment, it won’t happen again and I encourage you to have yours. But I’m a masochist so I write about it! “Habits die hard when you got a sentimental heart” (lyrics from She and Him).
What is life, asks Terrence Malick. He created his point of view and he tells us what life to him is. He tells us through images, he tells us through his own god. He tells us through O’Brien’s family, he tells us through children. He tells us trough ways of subtle and sensibility of human flaws.
This film isn’t about reaching perfectness, it’s about telling us something. The author wants to tell us something about life. I can say the story has been already told. You must have heard already “Unless you love, your life will flash by” or “to forgive”. What matters the most in here is that he can tells us something we already been told but he tells us with his voice. I think it’s never enough to hear about what are you made of. This film reminded me of ‘Into the Wild’. I know that they are two very distinctive worlds but they have some things in common - Its pureness and humanity; its society and the family who lives in it. Still, The Tree of Life is a rare creation by a group of people who worked by trust and some instinct to help telling a simple point of view so people could believe it. I don’t think you see something like ‘The Tree of Life’ neither this often nor at least every five years and I don’t think you’ll actually see it again.
To think of the sensibility of each single word, I have to say that every single detail comes to your mind, especially because they all are relevant. It’s because of every single detail that makes the essence of the story be so clear. The photography reaches raw senses that often pass you by. They shot so close to the men and women and children in the scenes positioning you so close to them. After there’s a long moment representing the universe there’s the representation of human lives. These were the moments where the shots were so close to the newborns, I was so close to them it seemed I could hear them breathing. You’re so close to the mother and the baby. Then they start to grow up and it’s even more magical.
Everything about The Tree of Life doesn’t actually need words. It’s there in the two hours film. Terrence Malick doesn’t need to talk to us about it; he already said what he had to say. What could we ask him? Where did you find inspiration? I guess he should say life. What about the dinosaurs, why were they so subtle? What did you intend to say when one dinosaur puts his foot over another? How did you direct those kids, how did you make them so believable? How did you communicate to them what should they feel in that moment, how did you make them cry that way, how did you make that kid transform and become so mad that way? Where did Jessica Chastain or Brad Pitt search in their souls for tremendous courage and willingness. What did you said to make the images be so well drawn and consistent through every new shot. Which leads me to ask what about the timings, how did you work them so precise with the director of photography? Finally, how did you make the film be one solid piece of work? I should say with lot of work, sweat, willingness, and a gifted little touch of genius! I’m sure he just went with his own rules, he created the environment he wanted for the film, some things he must have sacrificed in order to achieve others, he made the young actors be free, he made most of the scenes be improvised and through his own rules he was able to make an unique piece.
The essence of life is taken here by its deep roots and even knowing this story I still found myself fascinated by it.