Movie Review : The Tree of Life

Last night Agam and I celebrated a decade of being together. A decade of being there for each other. Obviously the relation took different names – but it has been ten years since we have stood by each other – in pain and in celebration.

So, to celebrate “Us”, I surprised Agam with tickets to a rather off beat movie – The Tree of Life. While looking for ideas to take make this day special for us, my mind got stuck at the words from this movie’s trailer – “There are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one to follow.” To make sure I don’t stain my opinion about the movie with the online reviews, I immediately booked the tickets and waited till 6:00pm when I could go and enjoy this movie with Agam.

Sitting next to the man who thought he would impress his girl by telling her about the dinosaurs he saw on National Geographic the night before, and the one who actually did impress her, not by talking about Dinosaurs , but by simply being himself – I felt content.

The movie has three tracks – Evolution of Life on Earth, Evolution of the Universe, and Evolution of a Child into a grown man. It is a 2hr 18 min movie, which needs patience to watch. It is not told in a very easy narrative. In fact there are long sequences when there are no dialogues – but awe inspiring visuals and hair raising music. As Agam put it correctly, it is not a movie you go to watch and it offers you a storyline, a plot, and you get entertained. This movie is art. What you see and what you hear depends on what you want to see and what you want to hear. The only way to enjoy this movie is to see it in light of your own thoughts. You interpret what you want to learn. And you look for answers to some of the questions that beckon you in life, in the context of the art you are seeing.

For me, this movie was as if someone was narrating a prose to me. Dialogues like – “Unless you love, your life will flash by”, and “It takes fierce will to get ahead in life”, and also, “Father, Mother – you always wrestle inside me.. And you always will.” ; seemed like prose to me.

Of course we all have our favorites and mine was this excerpt that describes the two types of people in this world. And no, the type is not divided by good and bad. There isn’t anything like good and bad. It is just a choice.

Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, and disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.”

And finally, the aha moment for me was when a Wikipedia article on the movie connected some dots together. The movie starts with the excerpt from the Bible – “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding . . . When the morning stars sang together. And all the sons of God shouted for joy.”  And throughout the movie the characters ask God –Where were You? “. “You let a boy die. You let anything happen. Why should I be good? When You aren’t.

If you want to be intrigued and not entertained – go watch the The Tree of Life.

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