THE TREE OF LIFE
Directed by Terrence Malick
Starring: Hunter McCracken, Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn
This year’s Palme D’Or winner, “The Tree of Life,” is simply what we live for, barely encased in one-hundred-and-forty minutes of ornate celluloid majesty, a religious, romantically sculpted feast of stanzas on faith, loss, and acceptance; a swirling vortex of memories churning up bursts of profound frailty and unspoken feeling. Its familial setup referenced sparingly, Malick’s film articulates the different stages of maturity we go through (infancy, adolescence, parenthood, the point at which one’s own mortality becomes a tangible, horrifying reality) with bracing symbolism, and an extent of visionary flair which only really he can bring to the screen. Reflecting upon 2011 as a strong year for cinema, I just couldn’t see past the scale, ambition, and resounding success of this modern masterpiece.