Terrence Malick and the "Problem of Good"

I discovered Terrence Malick movies only recently. His work is mesmerizing and hauntingly beautiful. So far I've seen "The Thin Red Line," "The Tree of Life" and my wife and I watched "To the Wonder" just last night. Malick is very much into philosophy I've learned. His movies, however, convey mainly sensory impressions and not much happens in terms of a story. But I think he wants us to slow down and look carefully and thoughtfully at the life happening around us. To truly see both the natural world and the people closest to us. In doing so we won't "miss the glory" as Brad Pitt's character said in "Tree of Life."

The most meaningful part of Malick's movies for me though is how he confronts two challenging issues. He has us think about the "problem of evil" regarding the bad things that happen to people and the horrible things we do to each other. But he also makes us come face to face with the good in the world and in each other. This - in the philosophy world - is known as the "problem of good" and is in fact a perplexing issue if you don't think evil or good actually exist.

In all of his movies I've seen, Malick brilliantly shows both the beautiful goodness and horrendous evil of the world. He then asks us to deal with the fact that both are indeed real.