Tim Brayton is the man.
On The Tree of Life:
Here is how I know that The Tree of Life is a masterpiece: it does all of these things, and touches me so much that I can barely stand it, and there is basically not one single element in the film that speaks to me personally. I have no siblings, and cannot begin to speak to the veracity of the brotherly relationships that lend the film its most poignant and magical moments; I’ve didn’t grow up in the kind of neighborhood where you could run around and stumble across wonderful things every which where; I have never had an acrimonious relationship with my father; I find the very idea of spotting Infinite Motherhood to be uncomfortably “othering” of women. And most crucially of all, I’m enough of a doctrinaire atheist that the questions, “Who is God? What is God thinking? How do we become closer to God?” are inherently as useful and compelling as wondering why we can’t taste our own tongue. And despite all of these handicaps, the movie still feels like it’s holding up a mirror: and it presents its intently specific story with such universal artistry and beauty and, yes, grace, that I cannot help but be swept up by it: twice I have seen the movie, and twice the moment that it ended felt like being violently shaken awake. I have now, twice, greeted the end of the movie with deep exhalation of feeling that reaches down into my toes, not sure if I should dance or cry from the unutterable glory of it.