Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life affirms humanity

Last night I saw Terrence Malick’s new opus, The Tree of Life in New York, a haunting and beautiful film about love, loss and the almost insignificance of humanity in the face of earthly beauties.

Malick is one of my favourite directors – my honours thesis was on his 1978 masterpiece, Days of Heaven – and he has a remarkable way of capturing nature in its most intimate moments. The characters in The Tree of Life, including Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, are often swimming in confusion in our world, desperately seeking clarity, meaning and hope.

The film won the top prize at Cannes this year and it’s not hard to see why. It’s visually spectacular and edited with such precision and the two and a half hours feels like a dream, moving from the present day to the 1950s and 2001-style space musings to when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

Malick strives for meaning in his films and he usually achieves it. He finds something disagreeable in the modern age and looks for alternatives.

A meditative film for a mad world.

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