Jj🍦’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a revised review for my favourite film as i feel i have much more to say after watching it pretty much constantly.
For me, the film feels like an existential crisis perceived through the mind of Sean Penn's character. I've heard people say the creation sequence is too 'over the top' but for me this part represents what this man is thinking.
Have u never had a thought which gradually blows out of proportion involving questionning your purpose within the universe and life itself? This is a representation of how sometimes you are reminded of how insignificant we are within the grand scheme of things; the world is much larger than you.
Then there's the childhood sequence which explores the recollection of growing up through imagery and sound that perfectly encapsulates the way i remember parts of my childhood.
From the mother floating in the air to the chair moving by itself, Malick incorporates moments that feel almost surreal, exactly like how a child perceives the world.
These moments remind me of how i personally remember vivid snapshots of early life or even dreams, wether accurate or not.
Notice how the growing up sequence is much shorter than the rest as the recollections become fully fleshed out into proper conversations and events later on. This depiction is exactly how i recount my own childhood.
Then there's the themes surrounding the father figure in the story, tackling the struggles of masculinity, success and fatherhood. Brad Pitt's character isn't one-sided but rather a victim of the american pressures that are put upon him, allowing you to feel sympathy for him.
The monologue towards the end, where he claims that he 'wanted to be a big man' and 'dishonored it all and didn't notice the beauty' is so powerful. It teaches a real lesson in appreciating our life instead of treating it as a competition. God knows how sad it would be to watch your life flash you by to then one day realise that you didn't appreciate it fully.
For me, Jessica Chastain's character is so well observed. I feel like Sean Penn's character is remembering her as the polar opposite to his father, the preferred parent who represents warmth and innocence. Now she may or may not have been like that but it explains why she is explored less, because the main trauma he experienced as a child came from the fatherly figure.
She says towards the end that 'if you do not love then your life will flash you by', similar to the dad's monologue, there is so much truth to be found within this quote which reinforces just how much this film changed my outlook on life.
The religious imagery and tone the film sometimes takes on never feels forced and proves exceptional in the way that even if you don't believe in a religion, you can experience the contemplative qualities it offers.
How many times have i been to a service (not being of faith) where i still found time to reflect on life. Because that's what this film feels like: a prayer, almost as if your whole life up to now was flashing by as you suddenly pause for a moment of reflection.
It's scenes like the sequence where the boy pauses to look at some flowers and smiles for a moment which prove so heartfelt and genuine. Malick isn't trying to impress the audience but draw them in and revel in what it means to be a part of the human experience.
The child acting is unbelievable in subtlety as i managed to see elements of myself within him which is really quite impressive.
I've already spoken about the outstanding cinematography, sound and dialogue in my last review and i probably will make another in the future because this film has so much to unpack.
You can say that you didn't connect with the experience of the film that's fine i get that, but if you say this film is 'pretentious' and 'doesn't make much sense' i just find that extremely disrespectful, go back to watching Fast and Furious for all i care.🤡
Thanks for reading up to here if you have and drop a comment if you feel like it🙏