October 21, 2016
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Brad Pitt, Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” booed in Cannes

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” one of the most anticipated films of the Cannes festival (if not of the entire year), finally screened for critics in France this morning and the reaction has been … well, mixed.

“Scattered audience members at its first screening in Cannes needed only one syllable: boo,” Anthony Breznican writes in EW.com. “The many supporters of the movie pushed back with counter-applause, but it was a shocking way for the movie to debut.”

Why shocking? Malick’s film has been set up to fail by uber-passionate bloggers like Jeff Wells, who practically demanded the film be excellent, sight unseen. How could anything but an instant masterpiece be deemed a success?

Maybe it’s not as bad as the boos make it seem.

Justin Chang references Stanley Kubrick’s “2001” in Variety as he writes that “Tree” is “something extraordinary,” and that the result “is pure-grade art cinema destined primarily for the delectation of Malick partisans and adventurous arthouse-goers, but with its cast names and see-it-to-believe-it stature, this inescapably divisive picture could captivate the zeitgeist for a spell.

Malick’s films divide audiences. Why would “Tree” be any different. Thankfully, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if his rumination on life an creation is art or navel gazing. “Tree of Life” opens everywhere on May 27.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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