Monday, June 20, 2011

I saw Tree of Life, guys. My brain melted.

Since my blog's name is rage knitting, one would assume I'm generally an angry person. I don't believe this to be true; I just found the name amusing. More often than not I'm hibernating and frogging projects in disgust, but 'disgusting knitting' as a title would have a different connotation altogether. I think most people would say I'm cranky, or set in my ways. Think an old person yelling, "Get off my porch!" and it's basically me. Why have I even started the post this way? I guess it was to segue into the movie I saw this weekend (twice), the Tree of Life. I hate seeing new things. I am dragged kicking and screaming to anything new. I like what I like, and that is it. (Now get off my porch!) Usually when Chris and I go intend to go see a movie, we plan on seeing whatever comic movie is playing currently, and "go to Cafe Routier first for a drink." We end up staying at Cafe Routier all night, horsing their fries with garlic aioli mayonnaise, and drinking martinis and such. So it's surprising that I made it to the theater at all, let alone twice.
It was...amazing. When I first saw it, I could barely wrap my brain around it. I couldn't understand how something like this could get made.

Oh, and I'm going to say it now: TOTAL SPOILER ALERT (Maybe?)

Maybe I'm being overly sentimental, or maybe I just ... I don't know. I saw this movie as an intensely personal movie that was at the same time universal. Some reviews say it is pretentious, but I don't see that at all. The concept of it is the story of a man, coming to terms with his life and death intermingled with how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe. A huge undertaking, that is for sure, but it seemed...honest. Too sincere to be pretentious. A lot of people see it as overtly religious, but have seen some religious reviewers that saw it as New Age-y. There's not a ton of dialogue in the movie (which seems crazy for a movie that's almost two and a half hours long), and some of the dialogue are whispered questions and statements; presumably directed at God. The funny thing about the whispered questions is that they seemed to me to be one of the easiest things to relate to about this movie (I really don't even want to call it that; it seems too beautiful to be called just a movie). They are universal questions; and I found myself thinking that I've asked those questions both before I had any sort of organized religion in my life (I didn't become a Catholic until I was 26.), and since I have become a Catholic. They are basically unanswerable questions anyway - "How could you let this happen," "Where where you,", etc. At the beginning of this movie is a quote from Job, which basically asks that: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?" The difference here is that it is God speaking. Job has had all sorts of tragedies befall him when he had been a good man all of his life, and asks why. God responds by saying that to him, which I guess is a really poetic way of saying "I created the universe, so shut your pie hole about earthly problems."
I'm kidding about that interpretation (sorta). I think that it's God's way of saying that there are things that we will never be able to understand or have an answer to. I think this movie tries to answer that question, and to my mind, is successful - or, at least, as good as can be grasped. The movie itself is spectacular to look at. Just...glorious. The music as well brought me to tears several times. This was the song playing during the montage of the creation of the universe (I said spoiler alert already.) This song has been in my head since the first time I saw it on Saturday, and if a song like that playing over and over in your head seems dramatical, let me assure you that it is. It's hard to try and edit a spreadsheet at work when all you hear is "Lacrimooooooosaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Lacrimooosaaaaaaaaaaaa!" and thinking about cells splitting and lava and waves and light and....I don't know if the beauty of that sequence can be described in words. It was incredible. I thought it intermingled faith and science in such a lovely way - light giving way to the lava/water, giving way to cells splitting and mingling with other cells, to jellyfish, to dinosaurs, to the Earth's horizon...Just lovely. I can't recommend this movie enough. I think whether you're religious or not, it is the story of a life with issues and feelings and thoughts we all face; that we can all relate to.

I'm not sure how to end this post. Oh, yes I do.

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