A visually powerful and emotionally unsettling film. Viewers need patience (or a doobie) for the first half hour or so, but this movie is worth the effort. And, like any great work of art, we will all take away something different.
Like Jack, I was too involved in my own adolescent struggles to pay much attention to what my younger brothers were going through. And, like Jack, to this day I regret my failures as an older brother.
A moment that resonated strongly for me was when the father apologizes to Jack for being too harsh. His response is, it's your house, you can do what you want. The youthful Jack isn't yet capable of forgiveness, but he's taking the first steps on a long journey - separateness, tolerance, and eventually acceptance - that Sean Penn continues in the final scenes.
Some wag - I forget who - wrote that Malick doesn't seem to care much for people, but he obviously never met a tree he didn't like. The visuals that stay with me aren't the cosmic pyrotechnics, but Waco's trees - an enormous diffusing canopy, enclosing the timeless, mythical world of childhood.