If the Tree of Life teaches one thing, it's probably the infinite variety of subjectivity. It's a polarizing film to say the least. Some reviewers seem to love it, and can't stop gushing about its philosophical depth, while others find it hard to stop frothing at the mouth from its sheer pretentiousness. And me? Well. I'm ambivalent.
Synopsis: Until he was downsized, affable, amiable Larry Crowne (Hanks) was a superstar team leader at the big-box company where he's worked since his time in the Navy. Underwater on his mortgage and unclear on what to do with his suddenly free days, Larry heads to his local college to start over. There he becomes part of a colorful community of outcasts, also-rans and the overlooked all trying to find a better future for themselves...often moving around town in a herd of scooters. In his public-speaking class, Larry develops an unexpected crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who has lost as much passion for teaching as she has for her husband. The simple guy who has every reason to think his life has stalled will come to learn an unexpected lesson: when you think everything worth having has passed you by, you just might discover your reason to live.
Larry Crowne is a light-hearted feel-good comedy that is low-key and relatable without disappearing under the radar. Co-writer-director-star Tom Hanks ably carries the film on his everyman shoulders, making the titular character extremely likable and real enough. Julia Roberts shines as the indifferent, alcoholic professor who teaches Larry at the community college. This is not one of her typical 'America`s sweetheart' roles; she is able to deliver bite when she has to, and shares charming chemistry with Hanks that builds up slowly.