The Tree of Life
In a year that’s proving artistically barren thus far, Terrence Malick’s latest towers above all other films. You will hear the word “impressionistic” summoned often to describe this film, and it’s the word that must be used. Brad Pitt, who gets better with age, plays a complicated father raising his sons in the ’50s. You also get Sean Penn as one of Pitt’s sons in the future, still struggling with his upbringing and the loss of one of his brothers to war. Oh, you also go back to the creation of the universe, including the Big Bang, the emergence of life, and the first act of animal upon animal aggression. In other words, Malick’s film attempts to encompass EVERYTHING and does a pretty damn good job of it. Jessica Chastain is enchanting and powerful as Pitt’s wife, and an assortment of young actors are amazing as the sons. Incredible, ambitious filmmaking where every shot and every edit is somehow perfect, and while it might be a little slow for some, it stands as one of the more impressive cinematic feats of the past 10 years.