One hundred and fifty minutes

You know when you go to a movie, and you don’t really feel like going but then it’s really, really good and you’re really, really glad you made the effort to haul your lazy ass to the cinema? Well, that didn’t happen to me last night.


So the film festival is on, and as usual Joel got all excited about heading to a bunch of movies and as usual he roped me into going to a few. Last night we made a date with some friends to go to our favourite Chinese restaurant so we could enjoy some decadent Peking Duck before heading to the award-winning movie Tree of Life which was playing at The Civic. I woke up feeling shitty yesterday – this cold has gone next level and is really messing with me – but I was determined not to pull out of the evening.


Dinner was delicious, but I was not very good company. I pretty much spent the whole meal zoning out in a cold-induced delirium. At that point I should have bailed, but I didn’t.


We spent ages driving around in the pouring rain looking for a park. When we finally got one it was close to movie time so we made a mad dash to the theatre. Our seats were about five rows from the back of the circle, so we were a fair distance from the screen and it’s mighty weird looking down at a movie from that far away.


There was a mixup with our seats, which is always a good time right? The usher managed to sort it just as the lights dimmed and I’m fairly sure the folks behind us were just delighted with the disruption.


Within the first ten minutes I knew I wasn’t going to like this movie. It was like a parody of an artsy movie. Long, boring, full of either too subtle or too obvious symbolism. Did I mention it was long? And it felt even longer considering my nose was literally dripping, I was doing my very best not to fight the urge to cough for two and a half hours, and the left side of my bum went to sleep about an hour into the film.


While everyone else sat still, fixated on the garbage that was unravelling onscreen (though ‘unravelling’ would indicate the presence of a storyline… there really wasn’t one) I found myself shifting in my seat every few minutes. I felt like an elephant sitting on a unicycle. At one point I leaned over and whispered to Joel that I was going to have to leave, but I managed to stick it out for the full two and a half hours.


As the final scene faded out, some of the audience applauded. I nearly joined them, but for entirely different reasons… I was just glad it was over. I am not sure I have ever felt so trapped in a cinema as I did last night.


As I type, Joel is heading back to The Civic to see Beginners which promises to be more appealing to me than Tree of Life, if only based on the fact the characters appear to talk in a volume louder than a whisper, and it would also seem to have actual dialogue. I’m not with Joel because the cold really got the better of me today and I’ve been a bit, um… phlegmy. Gross.


Have any of you seen Tree of Life? I’d love to know what you thought. It’s a polarising movie for sure, as indicated when I did a quick search on Twitter today and found these two tweets one after the other:


9 thoughts on “One hundred and fifty minutes

  1. I told you that you should have stayed in bed ,, tisk tisk going to a crappy movie and risking infecting the other non sweat-pant wearing public with your lurgy 😛 (jokes)
    I hope you get well soon

  2. Hi Jane, how funny! I was at the Civic too – and my friends and I (all four of us) felt exactly like you did. Each time one scene ended we prayed it would be the last. It was the most torturous experience I’d ever felt at the movies – and I completely did not enjoy it. Btw, I think people were clapping because it finally ended. I really doubt there was a single person there who was ‘in awe’.

  3. Why do people clap in movies? It’s not like the performers can hear them. I was ok in HP7.2 when Ron’s mum did something really cool (I’ll not spoil it for those who haven’t seen it yet) but from then on people started clapping for really wierd scenes, and it totally stuffed the flow. Arrrgh grrrr spitt hisss, grumpy.

    Did love the movie tho.

  4. Boy was the movie I went along to, not knowing what to expect, and thoroughly enjoyed. And yeah, the audience clapped at the end of that one, too. What else can you do?

    I know it’s not a perfect film, and does also seem to be one that polarises people, but it was a big nostalgia trip in a lot of ways, back to my own childhood. Same timeframe, and I grew up in a smallish town, so there was a lot in it that I could relate to, even though I am not Maori, and didn’t grow up in pretty impoverished conditions on the East Coast. And the humour lifts it above the average, IMHO.

    Sorry you’ve got the lurgy Jane, I had it last week and I know how yucky it is. Feel better soon.

  5. The only movie I’ve been in where people have clapped was the third Lord of the Rings movie. I guess it makes sense in a situation like that where it’s a New Zealand movie, being shown in a large cinema in Wellington, very likely containing people who were involved in or know people involved in the movie.

    Worst movie I’ve ever seen at a cinema: Open Water. NOTHING HAPPENS. People were leaving partway through, and then when it finished, the entire audience sat through the credits waiting for something to happen. There was a lot of awkward laughter when nothing did…

  6. He he he!! Sounds like the movie within the movie – ever seen Mister Bean’s Holiday – William Dafoe is acting as a movie director, making this truly ‘awesome’ epic – sounds something like that, except that in Mister Bean, it was funny!!

    You don’t sound like you’re having a lot of fun at the moment – nothing like a good cold to make you feel like death. Have to agree with P1ll – stay in bed!! Don’t go out until you feel better. You guys are having terrible weather in NZ at the moment anyway, sooo, you should stay cuddled up and warm!!

    Get well soon Jane – I wish you much strength! 🙂

  7. Sounds like a ghastly piece of “art”.

    I’ve only walked out of one movie, and it was some random arthouse thing that we won tickets to. It was rather peculiar, as it wasn’t about anything. All I remember is there were men carrying mud up a hill, covered in mud, whilst elevator music played.

    Man am I glad I didn’t part with any money to see that, and I think it only cost me 15 minutes of my life.

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