The Tree of Life, as reviewed by a young mum in Leeds

Monday July 11th 2011

It’s been a few months since I first wrote about Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells and his bizarre attitude towards the young mothers of West Yorkshire. Back in March, Wells responded to the news that The Tree of Life‘s UK release date had been set for May 4th by writing:

‘What a shocker if true! Years of waiting and all this delay, and the Cannes booking of The Tree of Life not even confirmed and it might all come down to a commercial opening in England? A young mom in Leeds who can’t afford a babysitter will be able to take her two kids to an afternoon showing of The Tree of Life at the local plex before the Cannes elite has a looksee? No, no … that’s too much, too ridiculous.’

Of course, in the weeks that followed the date was vetoed and the UK distribution rights were taken away from Icon and sold to Fox. Wells saw The Tree of Life at Cannes along with me and the rest of the ‘elite’ and declared it ‘rapturous, undisciplined visual poetry’. The film finally arrived in British cinemas last Friday, and together with Picturehouse Cinemas, I made Wells’ nightmare a reality this weekend by asking a young mum in Leeds for her opinion on Malick’s epic.

Bola Tajudeen, pictured below with her two-year-old daughter Star, studies politics at Leeds University. These are her thoughts on The Tree of Life:

‘I liked all the space stuff at the beginning but after that I pretty much disliked everything about it. I understood what it was getting at — I think — but it was just a really jarring film. Maybe it’s because it’s not what I was expecting. I mean, why were there dinosaurs in the film? It doesn’t need them.

I did like that there wasn’t much of a narrative, and the way it used all the biblical imagery as a backdrop to the story. And the acting was pretty good. Yeah, at least the acting wasn’t shitty. You’ve seen Anuvahood, that’s bad acting.

‘I just didn’t really understand the film, and oh my gosh it was tedious to watch.

‘And to that guy who was worried about young mums and their kids seeing it, trust me: no young mum is taking her kids to go and watch The Tree of Life on a Saturday afternoon. I mean, anyone’s worthy of seeing it — it’s a film, isn’t it? And it’s all about life so I’m sure the director wouldn’t want to section it off from any part of society. But I wouldn’t really recommend it.

‘Now if you want to give me free tickets for Harry Potter, I’m all good for that. At least then I can understand what I’m watching.’