No Words for Tree of Life

I don’t remember what prompted this particular journey around the web, but I happened onto a very thoughtful article the other day about what continues to be one of my favorite films, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. You can read the article here, if you like. After finishing this reflection, I turned as I often do to Roger Ebert’s website, where I found not only his four-star review, but also a similarly meditative journal entry about the film, which I wasted no time reading. Two very different sources, with different — although complementary — perspectives about a movie-going experience which simply begs for reflection and contemplation.

Imagine my chagrin when it occurred to me that I had not yet included this singular experience among my own writings!

And so, before I go to sleep tonight, I want to apologize to my faithful readers (presuming, of course, that I have any) for somehow inadvertently neglecting to share with you why you simply must experience this film. I suppose you could call this a short “note to self” to remind myself not to let this neglect continue. However, as it has been some time since I watched this film, I feel the need to experience it again before attempting to explain it to one who has not yet seen it. I’ll do my best to accomplish this soon.

In the meantime, I’ll finish this post with a small piece of Roger Ebert’s journal entry (linked above, so you can read it in its entirety):

Many films diminish us. They cheapen us, masturbate our senses, hammer us with shabby thrills, diminish the value of life. Some few films evoke the wonderment of life’s experience, and those I consider a form of prayer. Not prayer “to” anyone or anything, but prayer “about” everyone and everything.

In this season of summer blockbusters and CGI, I pray that you will find — or perhaps rediscover — some film, or book, or piece of art or music that strikes such a chord inside you that it continues to reverberate long after the experience has passed. Something that helps you see a glimmer of beauty in your life that you might have missed before. Something that rekindles that sense of wonder and magic which is all around us, if we simply look around.

Pleasant dreams.

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