I felt as if I was watching two movies at the same time. What is it with the random mishmash of cut scenes? Shot of water, shot of a porch, shot of a face, shot of a blade of grass. Ok, we get it, you’re artsy. I enjoyed the film even though I think it could have done without half of its content. It was an emotional depiction of yet another dysfunctional “American Dream” Southern middle class suburban family.
I was impressed with the very stern, authoritative father played by Brad Pitt. He played his character so well; I really thought he was cold and menacing, but also misunderstood and misguided as a parent. You actually see subtle evolution in the character as he matures, which was very impressive and showed acting skill. It isn’t easy to show change in a character when you are given less than two hours to get the audience to know him or her.
The mother was a weak woman and I tend to have little to no patience for weak women. As a woman of character, I like a woman who won’t just sit idly by as her husband makes the whole family uncomfortable by raising the children in a military-like fashion. I wouldn’t stay quiet in an ambiance drenched with fear and heavy with anger. But since that was her character, I have to say, hats off to Jessica Chastain for her performance.
The kids were so natural and incredible to watch. I really felt like I was watching brothers on screen, interacting as brothers. It was beautiful and insightful to see the bonding occur, the rivalry, the distancing that comes when one grows into a new phase of his life while the other remains in the previous phase.
What didn’t fit into the movie and was in my opinion unnecessary was the depiction of the Creation of our Universe, at the beginning of the film. We are shown the Primordial Soup, the first organisms on Earth, then the dinosaurs appear… really? It had NOTHING to do with the main narrative. It could be to give us perspective on life, since the main characters’ voiceovers kept talking about God and to God, and seeing the dinosaurs before Man can make the idea of God seem small and manmade since Life and Death are just part of the natural course that is Life within this Universe. By giving the viewer a biological perspective of life, it makes one think that maybe God — as we see God — has nothing to do with our existence. Nature just is. That being said, I might be giving an in-depth explanation to something that was not as thought-out perhaps. It also does not change my opinion that these shots were dispensable.
I did not understand the ending, with all the people at the beach? I found it interesting that *spoiler alert* the movie tries to address dealing with the death of a loved one, a child, a sibling, without ever covering the actual event or giving any detail as to how it occurred! Come on… really? You make me bond with the child and then you won’t even make it clear as to, 1) who died and 2) how it happened? Cop out. *spoiler over*
All in all, this is an emotional film, with breathtaking shots of Space and the Creation of Earth, with grandiose classical music accompaniment throughout the entire movie, and an interesting realistic portrayal of a family. Other than that, the narrative was unsatisfying and choppy/messy.