“Sea of Trees” Movie Review

Fernando Castro

I recently saw the movie “Sea of Trees”,  which stars Matthew McConaughey playing Arthur Brennan, a man with a troubled past. The movie follows Brennan as he travels to the Aokigahara forest in Japan, a spot known as a popular site for suicides. He plans to end his own life, but first meets a lost Asian man wandering aimlessly through the forest. Thus what originally began as a journey to end a life becomes a journey of trying save one in rescuing Takumi Nakamura (Ken Watanabe) from his death and safely exit together from the forest. The two are subject to the elements and are forced to reconcile with each other and their pasts before they can escape this seemingly-magical forest. Through flashbacks we learn more about Brennan’s life, his marriage, and the angst and guilt that has built inside of him, prompting feelings of sympathy from the audience. What starts out as a seemingly empty and depressing film about suicide grows expansively in feeling and color as Brennan’s life is replayed and he is brought to the barest senses of humanity, and is is forced to face his true feelings whilst clinging to his life. While it has not been positively received by most movie critics, watching Sea of Trees can be a powerful experience if you enter with an open mind, and don’t mind stomaching tragedy along the way.