Most movies I see are designed to appeal to the broadest audience possible.  They have to.  Mainstream films are at the intersection of art and commerce and the best you can hope for on an intellectual level is that the star-studded, effects-laden blockbuster might have some interesting subtext or challenge you in some minor way.  But most films keep subtext and challenges to a minimum because after a long week of work or school, the average audience member just wants to enjoy their movie.  Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is not for these audience members.  It is slow, ponderous, obtuse, stranger, and bewitching, and it doesn’t always hit its mark.  But when so many movies are trying to do the bare minimum possible when it comes to making audiences use their brains, it’s tough to fault Malick for overreaching. Read More...


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