Yesterday I was able to get out my regular dosage of stagnation against the new big thing that is Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. I am genuinely still excited for this film, but in a different way than what I was feeling before. Yesterday I was desperately looking for some sort of answer to what The Tree of Life was. I wasn't searching for a word-by-word definition of each individual scene in the film, but the trailer offered very little idea of what to expect. It was intentionally vague as to leave the audience intrigued enough to check it out for themselves, but sometimes all we want is an idea of what to expect.
And now I understand that the anger of yesterday was my immature reaction to what the critical masses were feeling. I almost never allow critics to get to me and influence my view of a film, such as with Hanna. The critics were divided and I didn't have a clue what I was in store for, but I wasn't feeling positive or pessimistic. I formed my own opinion of the film without outside influence. Yesterday, I let the reaction of critics get to me, not because some were overwhelmingly positive or negative, but they were middling. That is the most frustrating unanimous opinion, because it isn't a powerful declaration of quality.
It's basically the critical masses telling us, for once, that your decision as a viewer will be your opinion. I suppose we're so used to being told what to think that we sometimes forget to think independently. Part of the beauty of the cinematic experience is heading into something and discovering it. Nothing comes close to that first viewing of a film, and I despise it when a film is prematurely spoiled for me. I always make it a point of being there first. And so I'm wiping clean the slate of expectations for The Tree of Life, and heading towards this with a sense of honest criticism and unknowing.