From the Homefront: From the Homefront: The movie Mormon parents will enjoy

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  • rockcrawla AMERICAN FORK, UT
    July 19, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    I was intrigued by the article in DN recommending this movie, so we branched out of our normal routines, found a local theater, and went to see it. We had four people in our group: me and my wife (mid-40's LDS), my mother (77 yrs old) and my 14 yr old son, so several demographics were represented.

    We managed to stay in the theater for the entire movie, but after the show, there was a unanimous vote that it was the worst, most boring movie we had ever seen. The creation segment was intriguing to me, but after that, the script died and it became painful to sit through. We struggled to find some meaning or symbolism, but just couldn't. It was a dark, depressing movie that was exceptionally boring.

  • mominthetrenches South Jordan, Utah
    July 18, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    I strongly agree with Robin Pearce's comments. I would like to add that the adults (who are fighting for good) in the HP series are not abusive, but are loving and encouraging to Harry; there are even those who have passed through this life who continue to strengthen and teach him from the life beyond. The way these sequences are portrayed are in an extremely positive manner. Call me shallow, but we, along with the masses, have devoured each book, read them aloud with our children, discussed the books, anticipated every movie and were not disappointed when we saw the Saturday matinee!!! We need more positive, not so many downers!!!

  • Jon1 Arlington, VA
    July 18, 2011 4:08 p.m.

    Based on this column and several reviews I read I saw this movie on Saturday.
    WHAT A MISTAKE! When I saw that only 8 people were sitting in the theater, I should have suspected something was amiss.
    This movie was undoubetly the rottenst movie I have ever seen in my life of 65 years.
    Many have touted this as art and on the level of 2001 A Space Oddessy. What
    ever you people are smoking I wished I'd had some before I went into the theather.
    A word to the wise--Don't waste your time or money on this cinematic dud.

  • Robin Pearce SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 18, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    Thank you for recommending this artistic film. I would like to say, however, in response to the first line of this article, that I believe Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a film that every parent--every person--should want to see. That the film is a monumental blockbuster should not overshadow the fact that the tale is a literary masterpiece. It is a story of love, loss, loyalty, and innocence; of fierce friendship and ultimate sacrifice; of death and rebirth. It is a story of courage and the struggle to believe. This children's tale has a power beyond the reach of any magic.

  • Good Will Indio, CA
    July 18, 2011 8:50 a.m.

    This is NOT "the movie Mormon parents will enjoy". Stop saying that! (I got another email today from DN making that claim.) Virtually NO ONE enjoys this movie! That's why it is dismally attended (if you can even find it). It STINKS! The movie is depressing; the almost-non-plot is poorly told; the "glorious" cinematography is dark and foreboding. It's boring! In 20 minutes you've watched the whole thing and you'll spend the next two hours writhing in your seat, wanting to walk out or waiting for it to get better. (Spoiler: It doesn't.) This article should be withdrawn for false advertising.

  • Bountiful Boy ALEXANDRIA, VA
    July 18, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    "The Tree of Life" opens with a question from the 38th chapter of the Book of Job: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

    In this film, as in the scripture, the question is not answered.

    The character of the father is incoherent: he is an accomplished organist; he tries to teach his boys to be tough - to box and win fights out in their neighborhood; he is physically and emotionally abusive to his tender wife and to his sons; he gently pats them on the shoulders; he insists that they call him "Sir"; he sends them to bed without supper if they speak without being first spoken to; he encourages them to love classical music.

    Perhaps this father represents the God of the Old Testament: you never know if he wants to banish you or embrace you; his unpredictability makes his entire family paranoid; when he leaves on a business trip, they finally experience some relief and brief happiness.

  • gelato PROVO, UT
    July 17, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    This film from the start has had mixed responses: its first official showing was at the Cannes, France film festival where the audience booed and applauded it. In the end the Film Festival gave Malick's film its highest honor. From there, the film crossed the pond and was only released to art house venues (the distributors probably knew that it is only meant for a culturally perceptive and educated audience). After having finally seen the work of art myself and having read some of the responses to a journalist's recommendation of it, I have to agree with Afeemuse's opinion that this film is not for just anyone, you must have a cultural education and be prepared to be intellectually engaged, not spoon-fed or entertained. It is a cultural litmus test of sorts. Our reaction to The Tree of Life says more about us than the film or its genius director. (Big sigh!) Judging by many responses, I believe our educational system is severely lackingmany of us cannot recognize a great work of art when we see it. (And some, namely Mrmugooo, need more grammar lessons to learn the difference between adjectives and nouns.)

  • mrmugooo Snohomish, WA
    July 17, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    I am laughing out loud reading these comments! You guys are hilarious! Who goes to any movie based on what this reviewer says? Afeemuse's proved that she knows a lot of adjectives but holy cow!.. Really, all I care about is whether the pop corn is good! (And by the way, Mr. Bean's Holiday is a classic!!)

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    July 17, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    We sat all the way through this amazing movie because there was no single moment of offense sufficient to trigger our escape. It was more like the frog who died in the pot because there was no one point of warning. But when the credits finally appeared on the screen to signal its end, our group actually applauded; not for the show, but for its end. If they offered me the price of the show to sit through it again, I would refuse. The movie was a downer! All we could see was family abuse and intense unhappiness, interspersed with an hour and a half of unrelated film footage someone found in the archives.

    Don't waste your time, your money, or your patience to sit through this mess.

  • a_fée_muse Provo, UT
    July 16, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    The Tree of Life is a prayer, a requiem, a memory, or series of memories, impressions, glimpses, visions of light and shadow, a poem, a reverence for life and love. Most truly great works of art are not created to be popular, or understood by everyone all the time. Rather, they require from us patience, understanding, perception, sensitivity, meditation, transcendence, and yes, even spirituality. They are multi-layered, filled with meaning, symbolism, and insight into the human experience in all its complexity. And they often defy contemporary conventions and models. They sometimes jar, push, force, disturb, purge, sift. But they also teach, impress, awe-inspire, invigorate, exalt, even heal. And they endure, as surely this film will. We may judge this film; but, as with all creative masterpieces, it will now and forever always judge us.

  • nmsunshine ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    July 16, 2011 8:18 a.m.

    I agree with kareeleemo - it was a pompous, random and convoluted movie. And Terrence Malick does not know how to edit films. People who say this is an art film are using the term very loosely. It is what it is, folks. So why try to make it into some kind of monumental piece? At least monumental pieces like Gone With the Wind have decent story lines. The story line in this movie was very weak.

    The portrayal of the parents was as kareeleemo stated. The good thing about renting it is that you could fast forward it - but I would end up fast forwarding the entire film - so why bother?

  • kareeleemo PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    July 16, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    While I'm glad the reviewer had an enjoyable experience, I have to disagree with several points of her review.

    Based on the review, I was excited to see the movie. I love deep, thought-provoking movies and books, but I found this to be pompous, random and convoluted. It lacked direction and was at times downright silly. And it took itself so seriously.

    The reviewer talked about the "borderline abusive" father and the joys of childhood in a day when the children played outside and navigated the neighborhood. I saw an absolutely abusive father, a shrinking violet mother that didn't stand up for her children and intervene, and a miserable boy. He wasn't happy. This wasn't an idyllic childhood. This was a boy who felt like his father hated him. He was sad, lonely and acting out. And there was nothing borderline about about the abuse.

    One random scene after another after another. We wanted it to end. We needed it to end. And in my opinion, Terrence Malick needs to learn how to edit his films. He seemed unable to let go of anything, no matter how insignificant it was.

  • quick2 TACOMA, WA
    July 15, 2011 7:36 p.m.

    a_fee_muse is very accurate in his/her statement. Very well said.

    I saw this movie twice in the cinema and was moved each time. What a beautiful and inspiring piece of art. Like anything spiritual and inspiring you want to share it with everyone but, not everyone is ready to hear it or understand it. I just feel blessed for the experience.

  • a_fée_muse Provo, UT
    July 15, 2011 5:03 p.m.

    'The Tree of Life' is that very rare film that will always reveal more about the person watching the film than the viewer can ever say about the film. It is a work of art that will stand the test of time. Most of the negative critiscm hurtled its way will not.

  • iscorefilm Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    I would offer a correction to this article.

    "Most of the images are set to a soaring score of classical music."

    This is an honest and common mistake but is inaccurate. Orchestral scoring is very typical of the film scoring world, but there is a very big difference between a typical 'orchestral' film score and classical music or a classical-period styled score.

    Classical music relies on very certain forms and principles in writing. Hans Zimmer knows these principles and is certainly capable of them, but uses more of a 'sound design' approach. Pirates III is orchestral, but by no means classical in its form and style. John Williams typically scores in a style that is similar to one certain period in classical music... so he is certainly a good comparison point that is well known... but there are scores that are much more 'classical' than even his own.

    I'm not saying by any means that the film score here isn't good or that everyone will know the difference by saying 'classical' or not, but as it is my interest and to people like me there is a very big difference so I just thought I'd offer the clarification.

  • geevilla AUSTIN, TX
    July 15, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    I usually do not comment, but it pains me to see so much lack of support for phenomenal, spiritual art. Reading some of these posts I am reminded of a Simpsons episode where you get a glimpse into Homer's brain and see him laughing hysterically at a cymbal-playing wind-up monkey.

    I agree that those who do not like this are better suited for louder, flashier movies like Thor, Transformers and even (gasp!) Harry Potter. Nothing wrong with these flicks, per se, but they require little more than a brain stem. You can walk out of the multiplex and have a deep, intellectual conversation with your spouse about transcendent themes like BANG! FAST! GIRL! GUNS!!! EXPLOSION!, or whether the Decepticons or Autobots will rule the universe, etc. Yes, these are the kinds of movies that generously allow you to slip out to the snack bar for your Ju-Ju Bees, take a long bathroom break, and never miss a beat. Hey, after a long week at work, who doesn't want to sit back mouth agape, drooling into a Jumbo Icee, take a virtual brain nap and still get every nuance.

    Quayle's comment is right on the money.

  • ciaobello Concord, CA
    July 15, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Because of this review I was planning to see it tonight but the time slot has moved. After reading these reviews maybe Redbox is a better choice for it afterall.

  • nmsunshine ALBUQUERQUE, NM
    July 15, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    I agree with everyone who said that this movie was painful. It dragged on and on.The music and scenes of nature were nice, but it wasn't complimented with a good story line. It is a very vague film. True, the older brother learns a lesson in forgiveness from his younger brother - o.k. so there's a spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen it. The parents are divided in their approach to child raising and so the message that is subliminally given says that parents can just be themselves and the kids can figure things out the best they can. Not my idea of an uplifting film. I wouldn't waste my time. You're better off watching re-runs of Andy of Mayberry!

  • Good Will Indio, CA
    July 15, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    In "Mr. Bean's Holiday", the actor/director played by Willem Dafoe makes a pretentious, artsy-fartsy movie that Mr. Bean later edits. That awful, pre-edited movie is FAR BETTER than this abominable flick. (In fact, the two films are very similar -- only this tortuous, disturbing nonsense goes ON and ON and ON.)

    If any were still sitting in their seats (there were only 8 of us in the theater), they were either asleep or too embarrassed to be seen walking out after having paid $11 per ticket to view this dismal, depressing, disturbing (and really quite ugly) dreck.

    You've been warned. (And I will NEVER believe a review by Tiffany Lewis or Roger Ebert again. They are DELUSIONAL.)

  • SpanishImmersed Mesa, AZ
    July 14, 2011 10:19 p.m.

    The last time I was in a movie where half the audience walked out was 'O Brother, Where Art Thou', which we grew to enjoy and now consider as a classic.

    I guess it all depends on the viewers pespective, life experiences, and cognitive aptitudes when first exposed to a film.

    Maybe, 'Tree of Life' will treat the topic a little better than one of its predecessors. 'The Fountain'. For all of its cineramic beauty, I didn't get that one.

    In this redbox era, we find ourselves renting films to digest them slowly or watch over and over with subtitles to comprehend. Sometime we get it, and other times, we don't. Most films, we don't even approach, knowing pretty much there will be no redemptive qualities just by reading reviews or seeing the trailer. This review and subsequent blog just made me wait for redbox, rather than pay top dollar.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    July 14, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    Note to DN Monitors: The movie "The Tree of Life" that Ms. Lewis recommends in this article begins with and is based entirely on the statement: There are two ways through life."

    But they are not the ways Ms. Lewis interprets from this film.

    There are two ways through life.

    One way believes there are only two ways through life, the right way and the wrong way. This way assumes holism, rationalistic metaphysics, monism, and collectivism. It attempts to force all things into "one great whole". Because it presume you and your kin got the absolute, "one and only true" (right) way, and everybody else needs your patronizing, condescending "help" to come around to your right way, this way is fundamentally haughty, condemnatory, condescending, closed, conservative, and intolerant.

    The other way believes there is an infinite plethora and plurality of ways through life, and yours is just one: your personal, unique way. Because it does not force its way into the superior moral and epistemic position, this way advocates individualism, empiricism, diversity, and pluralism. It is fundamentally accepting, tolerant, open, generous, and liberal.

    Which way are you going through life?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    "Not every Mormon family enjoys witchcraft. We never got on that 'cult like following' train."

    A faithful Latter-day Saint can most certainly remain true to the teachings of the Church and enjoy Harry Potter, or at least aspects of it. I have 'issues' with Harry Potter like I have issues with many publications or many forms of media from many diverse authors. However, I don't have to agree with something to enjoy it.

    I enjoy a lot of British programming (Doctor Who wins them all) and often will find very atheist themes and ideas in them. I recognize these and simply disagree. They have the right to story tell from their belief system just as we in the Church have the same right.

    If I created a book about a wizard who was good, clean, and in every way LDS... and magic was simple a parable for the priesthood - there most certainly is nothing wrong with it. If I promoted sin as acceptable behavior, then certainly there is a problem.


    I am only commenting as your statement of disappointment and cult reference infer that people who enjoy HP are doing something morally wrong. - which would be untruthful.

  • Freedom Huntsville, UT
    July 14, 2011 1:00 p.m.

    I was excited about your title. But sorely disappointed when I read your article. Not every Mormon family enjoys witchcraft. We never got on that 'cult like following' train.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 14, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    Hey Newbury, does that mean you don't read the Book of Mormon either? It's all about context.

  • Newbury Park Mom NEWBURY PARK, CA
    July 14, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    I'm confused. The review on Fandango by this movie directed by Terrence Malick is rated PG-13 for scenes of violence, abuse and several instances of language. I can only surmise that there are two versions of this movie circulating... because this "mormon parent" would never consider seeing this film.

  • Alpine Blue Alpine, UT
    July 14, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    @ Jason

    Thank you for your excellent review and insights into Malick's search for meaning. Trying to track down where it being shown in order go see it this weekend.

  • Loves SLC SLC, UT
    July 14, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    What Kool Aid has this writer been drinking? She is writing for an LDS focused news organization and not one of the local weekly Tabloids. This was the worst movie I have ever almost seen [we walked out after an hour]. If your idea of a wonderful insight into the meaning of life is to have Sean Penn take an hour in Testimony meeting talking about his insight into the divine, then you might like this movie. I wanted to jump up and scream, "If you only knew"! This movie will drive 99.9% of any LDS audience crazy to the point of walking out. I am a movie nut and often enjoy an actor's work even when I strongly disagree with their lifestyle or philosophy, but this one is so far out of bounds that it should be banned even in San Francisco. Shame on you; your parents taught you better than this. You should take your family to see "17 Miracles" if you want to have an uplifting evening.

  • Rancho63 Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 13, 2011 10:37 p.m.

    My being snarky is another way to say some will greatly enjoy the movie and some will not. The reviewer on "All Things Considered" was not so worried that people left and interrupted those so deeply transfixed as she was horrified that anyone would dare walk out on a masterpiece. She must have been intimately in tune with Preisner.

    Geebes, does it automatically follow that if one does not like the movie, that he or she cannot think deeply about the purpose of life, etc etc?

    Also, some who were emotionally abused in childhood may find this movie too much to be subjected to.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 13, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    @ michaelm. You're worried that a portion of your entertainment dollar may be going to an actor (or athlete or writer) whose politics or morals don't match yours? Good luck with that.

    Does the same hold true for all the other names in the credits who also earn money from the movies you see? Editors? Producers? Coaches (I've seen G.A.s sitting within earshot of the bench)? Publishers? Video game-programmers? If that were the case most of us would sit home with the teeveee off, nothing to read, nothing to do but interact with family and ponder -- which, by the way, is what this movie is about.

  • Geebes TEMPE, AZ
    July 13, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    On one hand I really enjoyed this film. On the other, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.

    For those who think deep about the purposes of life, who find symbolism and meaning in the mundane, who are fascinated with the process of creation in all its forms, and who have an extremely long attention span - this is for you. For everyone else I guess there is Thor and Transformers.

    A sign of a good movie for me is when I am still thinking about it the next day, and that was very much the case for this movie (as expressed in the article). The film begins with a verse from Job 38, and drew a lot of themes from that book. And like Job, it is somewhat confusing and depressing until the end. But contrast is necessary in order to be realistic, and avoid being fantastic and 'cheesy'.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    July 13, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    So....where's it showing?

  • bookish Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    I haven't seen this movie and don't know much about it, but I recently spoke with a friend at work who has seen it. He said it was pretty much the worst movie he has ever sat through in a theater, and his friend he saw it with got up and left half way through. My friend sees a lot of independent movies that are different from the average blockbuster, so I don't think it would be fair to simply say he "didn't get it." I'm curious to see what the fuss is about, but I'll wait to see if my library gets it instead of spending time and money at the theater.

  • michaelm Waukesha, WI
    July 13, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    I have to question anything with Sean Penn, not that I am critical of his acting, but his politics which are always a large part of his acting choices are often contrary to everything a conservative family minded person stands for.

    As an artist, which I am, I try to be considerate of the art itself, still I find art and entertainment personal and hate to contribute to the pocketbooks of those who use that money in a blatant attempt to destroy the things I hold dear.

    Even with all that reading revues of the film and talking online with friend who saw it most seem not to come away confused but depressed. Many feel drained and disillusioned. I cannot understand how our reporter came out so uplifted and seeing it as a great parental movie. I will rent it as it's available at Blockbuster online already, another indicator that it's not as great a movie as portrayed. But like other life sucking movies I'll have a happy, light, and uplifting movie in the background to lift my spirits after what most people see as a downer of a movie.

  • Jason F. Provo, UT
    July 13, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    Rancho - While I can understand those walking out, it can be disconcerting to find yourself completely immersed in and attuned to a film's emotional world, while realizing that others in the same theater are so offput as to want to walk out. Nothing particularly smug or pretentious about it.

    As for the creation sequences - the film is filtered through the consciousness of a man grieving his brother's death and trying to come to grips with his own place in the universe, so there is a certain sorrowful feeling to the early sequences of the film. It doesn't hurt that Preisner's "Lacrimosa" (a piece written in memory of his good friend, the great filmmaker Kieslowski) is playing on the soundtrack. However, the film does get much more joyful - some of the scenes of childhood are among the most transcendent and euphoric ever captured on film

    Ultimately, you either connect to the film or you don't. I have seen the film twice now, and can honestly say that I want to be a better person for it. However, it's definitely not a matter of intelligence or sophistication, but rather being attuned to the filmmaker's sensibilities.

  • Rancho63 Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    My wife and I were anxious to see this movie and were greatly disappointed. Early on people were walking out. One person on "All Things Considered" commented that she was "horrified" to learn that people were walking out. Seriously? Horrified? How pretentious and smug.

    The creation scenes were beautiful to a degree but I have seem much better. They should have been filled with joy and awe but for a reason I can't explain, I started feeling depressed. The prehistoric scenes were sophomoric. I got the point about about abuse.

    After sitting in agony for two hours (the sound was either ear shattering loud or the voice overs were in unintelligible whispers) the music had lyrics about "Amen, Amen, Amen,..." and I thought o goody someone said the closing prayer and we can leave, but it kept going ad nausium. A reviewer that Sunday night on PBS was commenting on the ducumentary "Buck." She said it made her want to be a better person. The "Tree of Life" just made me want to slit my wrists.

    Maybe that was the point of the movie? I am just not sophisticated and intellectual enough to do Malick.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    July 13, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Caution: this is a non-typical movie that is very daring and ambitious in how it uses film to convey its message. This is not just another Hollywood movie crafted to entertain with cotton candy.

    But if you have the patience to see something other than the standard schlock, this is an amazing and provocative and powerful movie about life and joy and pain and good and evil. My wife and I have been talking about it off and on for a week now, after seeing it.

    Also, I would say that this is not Man's Search for Happiness; it is probably closer in theme to another film familiar to much of this readership.

    Don't go if your wife wants to see a chick-flick. I would even suggest you may not want to go if you don't like Citizen Cain because of the way it cinematically tells its story.

    But if you want to see a powerful and meaningful dramatic portrayal of the deepest questions of life, I can't recommend it enough.

  • Peccatte Tallahassee, FL
    July 13, 2011 7:44 a.m.

    Thanks for the article. I had wanted to see this movie before and this reinforces my desire. I will surely seek it out.

    I am still however trying to understand the point of the dinosaurs comment though.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 13, 2011 6:36 a.m.

    Tiffany is too brave. I felt the same about the movie, but didn't dare recommend it to others. It's not linear story telling. It's art on film. Think Man's Search for Happiness combined with creation scenes -- only done right by your favorite photographer. Like life, the reward comes at the end if you can endure. But there is a lot of thinking along the way.

  • essay Redwood Valley, CA
    July 12, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    I love movies but from what little I saw about this movie, it didn't look interesting and wondered even about the appropriateness of it. So thank you for the recommendation.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 12, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    Sounds interesting, but I still can't wait for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.