Canon Bill Lewellis
I recommend this 138-minute film from director Terrence Malick (Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn), now available on DVD. It could be the centerpiece of a fruitful two-day retreat. Having viewed it twice (easy for a retired guy to say), I'd recommend a first viewing prior to consulting any reviews. Don't seek meaning, just let the film flow into you. If you have already read reviews, do what you can to prescind from them. Let the film – the imagery, the music and the narrative – simply flow into you. Then (1) bask in what you've seen, and (2) read a few reviews. There are many. Here are five: Spirituality and Practice, NYTimes, Roger Ebert, The Guardian, Wikipedia. On the second day, or some later day, view the film again. Enjoy again while seeking your own meaning, not what the director's meaning may be but what you seem to be taking from it. Make liberal use of the pause button for contemplation. Says Roger Ebert at the conclusion of his review, "It all happens in this blink of a lifetime, surrounded by the realms of unimaginable time and space." Warning: It requires concentrated viewing. If you are in any way distracted while watching The Tree of Life, if you watch it with anything else on your mind, you will neither enjoy the film nor solve your distractions.