Commentators--official (Exhibit B) and unofficial (Exhibits C and D)--will now argue on the side of the actor or director, on the variable size of their egos, the hopes and intentions of each as artists, and so on.
Exhibit A: "I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly."
Exhibit B: LATimes: "Whether Penn's riposte comes off as honest or sour grapes probably turns on whether you feel The Tree of Life is a masterpiece or a naked emperor, a subject about which there's been no obvious consensus."
Exhibit C: Comment at The New Yorker: "The Tree of Life it's not as good as everybody wants it to be."
Exhibit D: Comment at InContention: "To me it isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with his sentiments. No, its about the fact that Penn is an ass."
ThePlaylist reminds us that selective quoting is often the instigator with these debates.