Is The Tree of Life the new Fountain? The original, rambling synopsis for Terence Malick's next movie was bafflingly New Agey. But co-star Brad Pitt's explanation of the film just makes it sound like an incomprehensible mess.
Empire Magazine asked the actor if The Tree of Life was science fiction, his response was, well, this:
"It's this little tiny story of a kid growing up in the 50s with a mother who's grace incarnate and a father who's oppressive in nature. So he is negotiating his way through it, defining who he's gonna be when he grows up. And that is juxtaposed with a little, tiny micro-story of the cosmos, from the beginning of the cosmos to the death of the cosmos. So that's where the sci-fi - or the sci-fact - comes in."
Pitt also called the film "a bit ambitious." Which is like calling Michael Bay a bit of an explosions whore. Pitt also confirmed the rumors that Heath Ledger was up for the part, but after Ledger pulled out, years ago Pitt, whose production company Plan B is making the film, stepped in.
Here's the film's original, ultra-confusing synopsis, via IMDB:
Tree of Life is a period piece centered around three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son (Hunter McCracken none SAG) of two characters (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) witnesses the loss of innocence.
We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother does, with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father tries to teach his son the world's way, of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth.
Framing this story is that of adult Jack, a lost soul in a modern world, seeking to discover amid the changing scenes of time that which does not change: the eternal scheme of which we are a part. When he sees all that has gone into our world's preparation, each thing appears a miracle precious, incomparable. Jack, with his new understanding, is able to forgive his father and take his first steps on the path of life.
The story ends in hope, acknowledging the beauty and joy in all things, in the everyday and above all in the family — our first school — the only place that most of us learn the truth about the world and ourselves, or discover life's single most important lesson, of unselfish love.
Any ideas on how this movie can illustrate the birth and death of the cosmos through one guy's aging, without straying into Fountain territory? Don't get me wrong, I thought The Fountain was visually arresting, but still, confusing. Still, I'll watch anything Terrence Malick films.