24.8.11

A penguin would have helped.

I went to see Tree Of Life at the Monarch today. Now, if I was going to pick a day when a movie about life, death, and the majesty of the universe was going to hit me emotionally, a day like today would be pretty high up on the list. I'm still a bit shaken over the death of Jack Layton, and the beauty of his last words are still haunting me. I went into the theatre with some heavy questions on my mind... I wasn't expecting answers, but maybe at least the film would resonate a bit more with me.

Tree Of Life took two hours to tell its story, and didn't once come close to making me feel an emotion. Maybe it's because I've seen it before -- with the harsh father belittling his son, the awkward love between son and mother, the meandering philosophy intercut with minutes of silent contemplation, an ugh-why scene of implied masturbation in a completely inappropriate setting, and a huge round of impossible congratulations at the end (which may or may not be the end of the world), and an abundance of Christian imagery, it actually felt like the final chapter of Neon Genesis Evangelion, only without the giant robots battling giant monsters. (Also, without any of the emotion.)

The movie, though, still manages to communicate its broader ideas. (Which is fortunate, since narrow ideas are rather scarce in this film.) What is the Tree Of Life? It is the entirety of existence, so vast and timeless that all the moments of your life crash into each other, pushed together by a frame of reference that spans eons. Human values fade like a wisp of cosmic dust between galaxies. Ethics and morality meaningless... and yet, love is not.

At least, that's one interpretation. Alas, there's not much else I could do with this film -- in other films, I have the joy of being emotionally involved, as well.

But that's not to say I didn't get the catharsis I wanted that evening. Driving home, I listened to "A Thousand Suns" by Hey Rosetta, and I got choked up and misty-eyed, and grateful to live in a world that has love in it.

Take care of yourselves today, okay?

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.