Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life finally premiered in Cannes today, but how was it received by the world’s critics?
The basic deal seems to be that the film is Malick turned up to 11 (heavy themes treated with a stunning visual sense) and that it’s going to divide people.
A new Malick film with Brad Pitt is already a must see for cinephiles around the globe and the positive trade reviews from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter perhaps indicate that however crazy it gets, discerning audiences are going to have a lot to absorb and discuss.
Whether it can crossover into the glare of the awards season remains a big question but this is already an event that has gone down in recent Cannes lore and Malick’s usual refusal to do any publicity has just stoked the must-see vibes around this film.
Here’s some brief snapshots of reactions from various critics:
- “an exceptional and major film” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
- “represents something extraordinary” – Justin Chang, Variety
- “visionary cinema on an unashamedly huge scale” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
- “near perfect”- Andre Soares, Alt Film Guide
- “wildly ambitious opus, …provides rich rewards” – Mike Goodridge, Screen International
- “the movie won’t be unanimously praised” – Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood (IndieWIRE)
- “overreaching and overbearing, but never forgettable” – Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
- “repetitive and even simplistic” – Dave Calhoun, Time Out
- “might yet prove [Malick’s] least rewarding [film]” – Guy Lodge, In Contention
- “I must confess to being underwhelmed” – Sukhdev Sandhu, The Telegraph
- “a gargantuan work of pretension” – Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline
Here are some of the reactions in image form.