In our culture today, movies are the way most people consume the power of story and art, and provide a backdrop to a deeper conversation. There is a movie releasing in theaters in about a month that I think is an absolute must-see (LA and NYC get the first release, slowly released nationwide after that). Rarely do movies present God, faith, and life in a way Christians can have a genuine conversation where they don’t feel they or God were misrepresented. I think this movie provides an opportunity toward a genuine conversation around a movie that will likely earn accolades for the imagery done by director Terrence Malick.
Read some of the initial reactions from its debut at the Cannes Film Festival via Brett McCracken.
The movie is The Tree of Life. Here is the synopsis of the plotline:
The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.
Here is the trailer (and a separate clip from the movie here):
Make no mistake, this is not a Christian movie. But I like how one of the stars in the movie puts it:
“You see this movie and you can’t help but think about some kind of spiritual being” (read the whole article here).
This is an opportunity. Not an opportunity to shove beliefs down the throats of our culture, but an opportunity to join in a conversation surrounding faith, life, and God that will be taking place.