Some films aren‚Äôt designed to be watched and absorbed in two hours. They need repeated viewings over the years; they beg for their audience to grow along with them, their meaning evolving over time. Stanley Kubrick‚Äôs 2001 is one of those. Terrence Malick‚Äôs Tree of Life is another.
Usually a film like this will leave you silent at the end of it, as you begin to make sense of what you‚Äôve just seen and what it all means. If you‚Äôre lucky, maybe you have someone with you that you can chew the fat with, someone who will toss ideas and questions back and forth about the movie. We used to call this, ‚Äúlet‚Äôs go get coffee and talk about it,‚Äù now we call it Twitter.
Therefore, when a movie like Tree of Life is finally seen at the Cannes Film Fest, and in London and later in New York and Los Angeles, the conversation about it will take place loudly and wildly on Twitter. That usually means snap judgments are made and sides are taken. The discussion first at bat was whether or not the French audiences booed the Terrence Malick film. They did boo it. They booed it immediately, taking no time to think it over. Much of the rest of the audience did sit silent and still before breaking into applause. One of the reasons that it took so long for the applause was that people weren‚Äôt sure if it was over or not. It wasn‚Äôt until Malick‚Äôs name appeared on the screen that the audience knew for sure it was over.