I was pleased on Tuesday morning to see the movie “The Tree of Life” nominated for an Oscar. It was probably one of the most beautiful movies I have ever watched.
The beginning of the movie is a citation from the book of Job: “Where were you when I founded the earth…while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4,7) That quote prepares you for what the movie will try to say to you. As Job believed in God’s plan, we too must trust even if each day seems to be a dark night.
The “Tree of Life” is story of a family in the 1950’s. The film follows the story of the eldest brother Jack (Sean Penn) from his childhood into adulthood. The movie is essentially about the way he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father, played by Brad Pitt.
The central idea of the movie is that there are always two forces in opposition: nature and grace, and we have to choose one. We see that life is full of choices between nature and grace and we see nature as something strong, conflicting and violent and grace as something pure, loving and peaceful. However, if we see both as something that comes from God, we understand that he is present in every moment of our lives.
Fr. Robert Baron, in his review of the movie, said, “The way to life, therefore, is a path of surrender and acceptance. I think that ‘Tree of Life’ is communicating this same difficult but vital lesson.”
I would have to agree with him because what I felt was that just as Job accepted all the things God put on his path, we have to look at our lives like that. Sometimes we have to surrender and accept the plan God has for us.
The Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, referred to this movie as a “film-prayer addressed to a God”. I see this movie as good for all those who believe in God as the one who is present in every step of our lives.
Nature and grace both come from God, which means we are free to choose our way, and it doesn’t matter which choice we make, He will always be there.