There are a very few movies I have attended where some of the audience left the theater mid-screening. Tree of Life is now included in that category. While there were excellent, albeit brief moments, much of the film was painful to sit through. It was the closest I have ever come to leaving a movie and to falling asleep in one. Several reasons why.
- The shifting imagery throughout, but especially at the beginning and the end of the film that left you perplexed and confused about the intent and the actual story line.
- An excessively long segment that depicted the origins of earth that felt longer than the actual historical events. There were some cool special effects, but it went on way too long and the accompanying score did not enthrall me at all.
- Subtle references in imagery and in the script that were way too vague. I still have not figured out how one of the characters passed away.
- The director seemed to want to use every cute and catchy filming technique in the textbook and that left following the imagery even more difficult.
The saddest part of all this is that there was a compelling story to tell and excellent acting in those scenes where the actors were given a chance to show their stuff. Unfortunately, the movie was a waste of Sean Penn’s, Brad Pitt’s, and the other actor’s considerable talents. Guess it was a good thing that it was a matinée showing.