Terrence Malick, USA, 2011, 139 min.
This film obviously means a lot to Malick. But the emotions he evokes are so very human that they aren’t just for him. The film is a scatter-shot of images and sequences and feelings. Some stick, some don’t, but how much you get out of it depends on who you are.
That is not to say that only the pretentious will appreciate the film. What I’m trying to say is that those who can relate to the images on the screen will get something out of it. But That is the nature of a personal film. Each viewer will see it differently.
A good way to view Tree of Life is to relax and let the film flow over you. Don’t think about the symbolism. Academically you could say the symbolism is both heavy-handed and vague, but why talk about movies academically? They are an art form and art is something that means different things to different people. Tree of Life is just that.