Director Terrence Malick is like exotic food from a far-off country: You’re either going to love it, or you’re going to spit it into your napkin and order more iced tea. When he makes films, which doesn’t happen often historically, Malick makes challenging ones. The Tree of Life
is no exception, and while it’s sumptuously photographed and features breakthroughs by Jessica Chastain and Hunter McCracken (who serve alongside big names Brad Pitt and Sean Penn), the film itself will likely be hit or miss for most audiences. There simply is not much middle ground for a movie that does not state explicitly what it’s out to do, and juggles a midcentury family drama with imagery focusing on the creation of life on Earth. The effects, while sensational, do not fit with the rest of the film.