Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Best Movie I Saw Last Week: The Tree of Life

This week was also a little light on movies but the quality was amazing: Antonioni, Almodóvar, Von Trier... A lot of amazing directors. But in the end I have to choose a Cannes winner (fitting, since we are in the middle of the festival): The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011).

The movie might have been controversial but to me it is simply perfect. I am not a religious person in any way but this movie speaks to me about spirituality and I want to listen. It helps that it's not pandering (as some people want to see it) but a reflective movie that, like our young protagonist, might not have everything figured it out. The movie deals with the divine but also with the human, with how our choices shape who we become, how the way of grace and the way of nature always wrestle inside us.

Visually, it is one of the most sumptuous films I have ever seen, every shot is beautiful and meaningful and it is a contemporary tragedy that Emmanuel Lubezki lost the cinematography Oscar to Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011). Aurally, the movie is astounding too, not only for the perfect musical selection but also for Desplat score and for the very inspired voiceovers that appear throughout the film.

The performances are terrific. If I ruled the world, Hunter McCracken would have been nominated and both Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain would have won. I remember one of the happiest seconds in my life was the confusion when they announced the nomination of Jessica Chastain  for The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011) and the picture that appeared was from The Tree of Life and I was able to think for a moment that she had been nominated for the right role. Alas, it was not to be. The movie was nominated for three Oscars, losing one to Hugo and two (picture and director) to The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) when, as it was clear in Cannes, this was the superior movie. And don't worry, time will tell.

Other movies I saw this week:

The Man Who Knew Too Much (Alfred Hitchcock, 1934)
Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012) [Rewatch]
Transamerica (Duncan Tucker, 2005) [Rewatch]
Neighbors (Nicholas Stoller, 2014)
Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2014)
The Double (Richard Ayoade, 2014)
Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
Melancholia (Lars Von Trier, 2011) [Rewatch]
La Piel que Habito (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011) [Rewatch]

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