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Generally favorable reviews- based on 522 Ratings

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  1. Oct 2, 2014
    Short verison:
    Tie an hd camera to your dog. Set him loose in your neighborhood. Boom -- Tree of Life.

    Long version:
    But here's the real meaining of the movie.. cow. horse. crying. rain. let's play catch in the yard. Now let's have Brad Pitt sit in front of an old tv and grumble. Applesauce. Clouds. The sun. Wander aimlessly in a parking ramp. Wonder about the meaning of your
    kids. Who may have died. Next week. Squirrels and pumpkins. Lots of pumpkins. Speaking of which, I like vanilla. Expand
  2. Jul 25, 2014
    . This movie is worse than black people.
    Only Joking. No, seriously, this movie is awful.
    Brad Pitt's worst movie
    Sean Penn's worst movie
    Daniel Day Lewis worst movie
  3. Jun 2, 2014
    One of the worst movies I have ever seen. I kept waiting for it to get better, but to no avail. This movie spent so much effort trying to prove that it was some sort of artistic piece, that it totally forgot the basic element of entertainment. This movie is so different that I can see how critics view it as powerful or moving when taken as a whole. But minute-to-minute, this was flat out BORING. After the first 30 minutes I almost turned it off because I thought I was watching a National Geographic documentary on how the Earth was formed. And then after suffering through bizarre and nonsensical imagery, pointless scenes about a typical boy's childhood (OK, I get it. Boys like to wrestle and throw rocks), and absolutely NO plot, I was thankful when this movie finally ended. Unfortunately I will never get those 2 hours of my life back. If you want a movie that actually has a plot, is entertaining, or is actually ABOUT SOMETHING, do not watch this movie. You have been warned! Expand
  4. Dec 12, 2013
    incredibly boring is the second movie that made me left the theater (the other one being i know what you did last summer). It shows a philosophical way about life joining all the elements in the universe and earth. Boooring.
  5. Nov 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I begin by stating that I love cinema that isn't afraid to be different. I love to be challenged. But this film struck me as being self indulgent pretentious film-making at its worst.

    There is an outline of good story hidden in there, and one that deserved a far better telling; the story of a family falling to pieces and struggling to hold itself together...and perhaps a chance to explore how a tragedy affects these dynamics.

    Instead we are presented with some loosely sketched hints of metaphysics and ruminations on God. There is also an interminable section that follows the birth of the Universe, formation of the Earth and Dinosuar extinction very much like it was lifted from NatGeo (or lifted from Fantasia)...which I struggle to find any link to the story being told. Yes, they were very pretty pictures, but what purpose did they serve?

    On the positive side, the cinematography is stunning. There are truly breathtaking images, and even mundane scenes are shot with brilliance.
    The acting is amazing the whole cast inhabit the characters they portray. Which is all the more reason I am so dissappointed; this film could have been so much better.
  6. Jun 13, 2013
    I felt like I was being punished to have to sit through this garbage. I thought I was going to go crazy just starring at all those meaningless camera shots. I could have thought of a hundred ways to spend my time better than watching this.
  7. Apr 16, 2013
    it's one of the fewest movies that i literally stopped watching after about 10 minutes only it's mute and boring i'm not a fan of these movies and never will be as a movie fan i like to see story that i can understand and relate to it call me shallow but this is how i feel about movies so i think this movie is for over-educated critics and sophisticated people not for people who seek an entertainment and having a good time. Expand
  8. Apr 8, 2013
    I want to review this movie but because as I have just finished it,I am extremely sleepy.
    I am someone who gets very much intrigued by life and its spiritual meanings-but THIS has bored me to hell.I mean this shouldn't be termed as a movie at all.It's an philosophical educational ride.
  9. Feb 15, 2013
    One of, it not the most boring horrendous movie of all time. It is so unbearable to watch that I don't even feel comfortable calling this mindless piece of garbage an actual movie.
  10. Jan 13, 2013
    Just because a movie is filmed beautifully doesn't make it the best movie ever. A film needs a story, or at least some sort of plot. I tried to view this movie multiple times to find some sort of abstract or hidden meaning behind it, but I have been unsuccessful. Capturing only little snippets of a person's life here and there, then throwing in some dinosaurs doesn't make for a compelling story in my opinion. Expand
  11. Dec 22, 2012
    Without doubt THE WORST film I have ever seen. Do not waste 2 hours of your life watching this! It is utter garbage. If I were Brad or Jessica I would wear a bag over my head and pretend I was never in this film! I joined this site just to review this, so strong is my desire to warn others. It is seriously seriously BAD!
  12. Nov 24, 2012
    {Queue psychedelic music} ... "Why are there animated dinosaurs on the screen?" ... "Where did all the high-price actors go?" ... "Why did I rent this movie?" ... "Why did I wait so long to turn it off?" ... These are the actual questions you'll ask yourself when you watch the, "Tree of Life". This movie is less about following the "life journey" of a "disillusioned adult" and more about "testing the patience" of "bemused adults". Expand
  13. Sep 17, 2012
    The Tree of Life is the most wanky and self-indulgent film I
  14. Aug 10, 2012
    Stunning visuals here are ultimately undone by a lack of a story. The purpose behind film is to tell a coherent story and this movie fails in that most basic task. Instead, it unabashedly shoves and unappreciated message down the audience's throat.
  15. Jul 30, 2012
    This movie was AWFUL. Pretentious, The plot was simplistic but full of self importance. Once of the worse movies I have seen in a very long time. The only good thing I have to say is that I didn't pay to see it at a cinema. But it makes me reconsider canceling my HBO.
  16. Jul 8, 2012
    If i tied a video camera to my dog's arse, then fed it acid and let it run around town for a couple of days, the results would be infinitely better than this pile of horse ****
  17. May 30, 2012
    This movie is terrible. Terrence Malick may be a philosopher, but he isn't a filmmaker. This movie is incredibly ham-fisted in its attempts to translate the philosophical concepts through metaphor. He does so less successfully than a real filmmaker unconsciously would. The cinematography in 'The Tree Of Life' may be quite good, as well as some performances, but that is not directly the result of Malick's directing.

    This is art for art's sake. It is not deep or intelligent. This is just bad - and Malick as the director is responsible.

    Please do not see this.
  18. Apr 11, 2012
    Visually stunning with no significant plotline. Films like these where the special effects outdo the well-crafted hopefully not too complicated plotline, yet amass a vast quantity of critical acclaim, make me question how desperate film companies are in order to achieve at least a satisfactory level. Probably the only perfect reason why it got the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival was because it has the god-like standard and wonderful form of the special effects to make it look professional. Although, I did enjoy how insignificant we are in this universe, cue the 'stunning visual effects' again, which is compared to how we live, but due to what I said earlier, I would nominate this for a 'one-watch only' award, as this didn't seem anything to go on. I find it is better to stick up for the films which are genuinely good but unappreciated and sometimes immorally slammed by the critics, than to sugar coat the films that do not deserve even a satisfactory review. The film was confusing, and Sean Penn was barely in it. Funny how the beginning can be compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I'd rather watch, because it is beautiful and has a plot, and I want to doubt that this film will ever be a classic compared to a Stanley Kubrick film. I never liked Brad Pitt anyway. Expand
  19. Mar 26, 2012
    Can someone explain to me what i just sat through because i can't. was it a movie? was there a story? No and no. The director should never make a movie again. Extremely boring with annoying people throughout. Made no sense at all. Couldn't wait for it to be over. Horrible.
  20. Mar 24, 2012
    A movie as deep, meaningful and exquisitely crafted as a Powerpoint presentation. The genius of it, is being so vague that anyone can interpret it as they see fit. Question the reviewers that give this movie an amazing score the same way you question the people who find the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast. Trust your instincts. That urge to yawn and look at your watch while this is playing is not your fault. Comparing this to Kubrick is an insult. Kubrick movies had abstract elements, but they were never boring. Even so, Kubrick never had the unanimous praise Malick gets for turds like these. Help your fellow movie watcher and classify all 10/10 reviews of this movie as "unhelpful". This emperor is as clothed as a Sphynx cat. Expand
  21. Mar 11, 2012
    I cannot believe this movie got so much good reviews, It was a bad movie.. There was no story line but there was an hour of displaying national geographic videos and photos.
  22. Mar 10, 2012
    Tree of Life is trying so hard to be something deep and symbolic, that it's just ridiculous. Now I see the world with the eyes of a happy innocent child, and then I see miracles of god's creation, and then I see some drama from young man's past.. So put it together for god's sake! It's like I saw 100500 art-house movies, so now I can make my own. NO!
  23. Feb 18, 2012
    It appears that those that are giving this movie high scores seems to be trying to find some sort of a deeper meaning from this crap of a movie. I went into this movie with a open mind thinking that this movie was suppose to be about life most profound questions, something really thought provoking. Sadly this is not that sort of film. This movie is sort of this badly put together film about a single dysfunctional family and having faith in God. I heard that some people are trying to compare this movie to 2001 Space Odyssey? This film is not! Expand
  24. Jan 27, 2012
    Just a glorified windows screen saver with music. I usually watch every movie, even the bad ones, to the end. This is the in a long time first that I left in the middle, as I found myself thinking about other stuff while the images passed before my eyes.
  25. Jan 25, 2012
    CRAP!!! My words here, no words ever, can fully describe how bad ths movie is. The fact that The Academy has blessed it by giving both it and Terrence Malick Oscar nods does not change the crap factor. Please don't rush out and rent this garbage unless you want to waste more than 2 hours of your time. Many shots in the film are beautiful and the acting is good, but none of that helps this movie. It's self- absorbed, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual garbage. Come on - an introspective dinosaur - give me a break. I know that was only one quick scene, but it is a commentary on how ridiculously awful thus movie is. Horrible. Expand
  26. Jan 22, 2012
    Feast or famine is the deal here, there's no in-between. It's a love or hate movie. To sum up this movie, Tree of Life is a 138 min screen saver. Just because something looks good doesnt translate to being a good movie, good story, or good concept.
  27. Jan 11, 2012
    The Tree of Life is a triumph of brash personality & pomposity over craft, subtlety and modesty. I'm not at all against long-winded and non-linear films; one of my all time favourites is Koyaanisqatsi, a film that brilliantly brings together stunning images with fairly haunting but epic musical themes to create an overall feeling of awe. The Tree of Life is trying a similar trick but fails. Miserably. The problem is Malick's desire to imbue the film with some sort of genius insight. Moments that should be stunning instead feel forced and contrived. Rather than letting images speak for themselves, there is a constant metaphor or insight forced in your face which seems laughable. In fact, despite normally being a very restrained and concentrated viewer, myself and my friend found ourselves chuckling quietly on at least 3 occasions. I won't go into details, but the dinosaur scene is potentially the most ridiculous and conceited I have ever viewed. The genius of great directors is to carefully put together a movie that captures the minds of it's audience, whilst carefully sculpting the characters and story in order to provide a certain experience for them, whilst they are pre-occupied elsewhere. The images, though beautiful, do not deserve much attention and so you are left to analyse Malick's composition, which it leaves it horrendously exposed. I felt as embarrassed as if I had just accidentally walked in on a cheating couple. The 2 in the score above is solely for the section following the family. Brad Pitt and his co-stars act this brilliantly and the slow pace, quiet soundtrack and beautiful photography seize you completely. I became so involved in this brief section that every second afterwards was incredibly painful, and like many other reviewers below, sighed in relief every time I mistakenly thought the film had ended.

    This section is a fantastic interlude in an otherwise dreadful movie, perfectly summed up when Sean Penn is left kneeling on a beach towards the end. Hideously pompous, briefly brilliant, but ultimately farcical.
  28. Jan 10, 2012
    So boring. Not even Brad Prit can change how boring this movie is. So long nothing but silence. Yes a father and son story but it is so empty nobody can really relate to the characters.
  29. Jan 9, 2012
    This movie was bad. It was like sitting at a table with a doosh who is trying to tell you what the meaning of life is- it's bad. If you say that you did not like this movie typicly people or "hipsters" will mentaly decide you just where not smart enough to get it.... It was a waste of money...
  30. Jan 3, 2012
    Tree of Life is an attempted artistic expression, which I encourage and appreciate. You will not see many films like it. The problem is that the movie has no entertainment value. If you are going to watch this movie, expect to watch the ultimate art house film. If it isn't your niche then you will be bored senseless.
  31. Dec 29, 2011
    I signed up just to review this movie. I enjoy stimulating films, and count in my collection movies by Jodorowsky and other fascinating directors. I am no stranger to weird cinema. This movie is the worst piece of crap to ever be filmed. It makes absolutely no sense at all, goes in no direction and is totally unwatchable. Critics say they love this because for the most part they are pretentious idiots who are not brave enough to say they don't get it. Stay away from this movie like the plague. Expand
  32. Dec 27, 2011
    Ok, people, I don't get it. Why does this film end up on so many critics' top 10 (in many cases, the top of the top)??? I like movies that are deep and thought provoking but The Tree of Life is just absolutely boring and self serving. There is a line between artsy and just self serving. This film is the latter in my opinion. Sure, the movie is beautifully filmed with many spectacular scenes but what's that gotta to do with the story? I feel director Mr. Malick feels like he can do anything mindless and some critics out there will call it a piece of art. I am glad I am entitled to my opinion. Expand
  33. Lyn
    Dec 26, 2011
    The movie is beautiful -- not like "Days of Heaven" or "The English Patient" were beautiful, but like a well-done National Geographic special is beautiful. The opening quotation from Job poses profound questions that aren't really answered by volcanoes, waterfalls and dinosaurs. The brothers' relationships are touching, but the mother (Chastain) is such an ethereal presence that she seems almost lobotomized. I was disappointed that the gorgeous cinematography was done in service to mundane spiritual cliches and not in service to a coherent plot. Expand
  34. Dec 26, 2011
    The film begins with a woman describing the two ways one can choose to live life: the way of grace and the way of nature. The way of grace is one in which you accept anything that comes your way, good or bad. The way of nature is self-centered and motivated by personal goals and interests. This sets the stage for the film, as we come to learn that hard-ass father Brad Pitt has chosen the way of nature; his wife, on the other hand, has chosen grace, and acts as an innocent bystander as life "happens" to her. The film is about a family in the 1950s. A father, a mother, and their three boys. We learn early on that their youngest son dies at age 19, but we never learn how. Or maybe we do, but I wasn't clever enough to catch on. The pros and cons of this film balance each other out, leaving me with a feeling of "meh." There were things I loved and things I loathed. The things I loved: cinematography - gorgeous, unexpected camera angles and spectacular lighting; acting: believable and relatable characters - a father who loves his children dearly but projects his dissatisfaction with life onto them. The things I loathed: the "Planet Earth-esque" intermissions, in which we are shown images of exploding volcanoes, kelp floating in the ocean, and dinosaurs stepping on each other's heads (I kid you not); and the little flame that sticks out of an all-black frame in the beginning, middle and end of the film. This push and pull of the film mirrors the nature vs. grace theme, and the dichotomy created in the boys' lives by the meek mom and the harsh father. But in the end it left me wanting more. It left me with one foot in the light and one in the dark, in a rather "grey" mood. If I had to rate the film, I'd disagree with IMDB and Metacritic and give it a 50 - smack-dab in the middle of the range. I think it had potential. And it bravely explored new cinematic waters. But it left me feeling robbed of some profound insight which I wasn't able to extract from a flickering flame or a 10-minute shot of a galaxy. Expand
  35. Dec 21, 2011
    The Tree of Life is the perfect example of a love-hate movie. Either you see it and you are suddenly enlightened into some sort of great insight and deep meaning that the movie has hidden deep within or you are left wondering what the hell you just saw and how you ever managed to stay awake through the whole thing. For me, I hated the film. It seemed utterly pointless, and I have no idea how others can look at it and see anything other than jumbled and very poor story telling albeit with beautiful cinematography. My theory is that many people see themselves as being very insightful and artistic and therefore they embrace this movie saying that they, with their great artistic minds and deep thought, found profound meaning in this movie. Expand
  36. Dec 17, 2011
    Always trust the user reviews - 6.4 is not an achievement after 250 reviews and my score will drag it down further. This movie dragged immensely. Of course there is an underlying cosmological message - its named Tree of Life afterall - but it gets lost at some point. There is some art here no question but the critics set expectations too high.
  37. Dec 15, 2011
    I am very patient and love quirky movies that make you think. This movie was so slow that if I would have seen it at the theatre I would have walked out. This was more like a bad painting where the "artist" throws paint on a canvas and loves what HE sees and thinks the rest of the world should do the same. The opening narration pretty much sums up the movie's message without having to be painfully drug through the details, or lack thereof. Expand
  38. Dec 4, 2011
    Shockingly self-serving drivel. As a scientist, I was appalled at the inane attempt to present a timeline of life (as pretty as it was). The movie "Adaptation " did it in one quick scene. This lunacy goes on for a period of time that truly made me shake. The awfulness is indescribable. The pain worse than an unanaesthetized tooth extraction. As a writer, I was incensed from the very first whisper (the whole slide show is in a whisper) with false spiritual music gnawing at you in the background.The narrative is accomplishable in 8x fast forward which is the only way I could watch this.These amazing actors were silenced by insane direction and muffled by a score better suited for a 700 Club infomercial.

    If a reviewer likes this film then they didn't watch it or they're related to Maleck. I was asked to consider voting for this film. I am considering sending it to my enemies.

    I wish I had a way to waste a Saturday night of Maleck's.
  39. DHE
    Dec 3, 2011
    This movie gets my King-has-no-clothes award for the most inexplicably highly rated movie of the year (previous winners: Forrest Gump, Before Sunset). It was basically 2 hours of my life that I'll never get back. I spent the first hour waiting for the movie to start and the last hour waiting for it to end. Somehow, I made it to the finish, but not without a cost: the wasted effort that went into trying (and I did try) to find even a moment worth watching on any level left me feeling cranky and cheated. The movie did not make me laugh, cry, think, or wonder; it was monumentally unmoving. The spirituality at its core was soaringly sophomoric (not to mention off-putting). If it was meant to serve as a unifying theme linking everything (and by "everything" I mean everything) in a halo of enlightenment, the actual effect was closer to self-parody. I get the set up -- tough-love Dad suppressing his own dreams and trying (yet not trying) to make emotional connections, and the toll his own internal struggle takes on the family -- but there was so little to like about the characters that I found myself hoping the movie gods would drop a large heavy object on the lot of them, much like the eldest son wished the God-god would drop a car on his father. In some ways, the mother, presumably meant to be the sympathetic figure in the story, was the least likable of the lot (good luck with that Grace thing). Or maybe it was the oldest son, molded into a wretched little torturer by the contradictory and capricious demands of his father, that we were meant to empathize with. Whatever; it didn't work. The number 2 (?) son (call him Trust) flickered around the edges accompanied by a general "goodness" vibe, but never quite materialized into a person, and the third son was virtually indistinguishable from the other neighborhood kids. One of the three sons somehow grows up to be Sean Penn, a successful urban professional (architect?) whose stoic middle-distance gaze appears meant to speak wordlessly (literally) to unsettled "issues". It's not quite like I don't have anything good to say about the movie. Brad Pitt was great, as always. (I'd watch him read a phone book; in fact, I'd rather have watched him read a phone book). Sean Penn is always interesting to look at, even if he's not really doing anything. Dinosaurs (yes, dinosaurs) made a brief, but engaging appearance (maybe Malick can use these scenes as starter material for a logically dialog-free movie). And one last thing: If you got rid of all the scenes with people, it would make a halfway decent screensaver. Expand
  40. Nov 29, 2011
    There was a part of this movie where a dinosaur stepped on another dinosaur's head. That was probably the best part of this movie and is also the reason why this movie gets a one instead of a zero. Plot goes like this. Some kid dies in Vietnam. Everyone is all mopey despite living in a nice house in a nice area. The father was kind of cold and distant. The mother was some kind of cray. Nature is a church or something. God works in mysterious ways or something. There is allegory everywhere: an allegorical house, an allegorical DDT truck, an allegorical housewife, an allegorical **** dinosaur, an allegorical sun, an allegorical tree, an allegorical nightgown etc. Bleck. It sucks majorly. AVOID. Expand
  41. Nov 20, 2011
    Is this even a movie. It seems to be more like a piece of unfinished art, ready for ordinary ppl to give it it's final touch? i don't know whether to be positive or negative about ToL. The switch between scenes often doesnt seem to have any logic. You could play the whole movie backwards and still feel the same about it. I would only recommend this movie to ppl ho have a little bit of affinity with religion, otherwise youd be wasting 2 hours of your life Expand
  42. Nov 19, 2011
    Like other viewers of this movie, I registered for Metacritic only because of this movie. And yes I too am an educated movie-goer... And yes this movie sucked. A complete waste of time. Others here said it perfectly. Nothing else needs to be added. Spoiler? That is impossible because there is no plot.
  43. Nov 10, 2011
    It's not film worthy of review because it's not really a film. The first half-hour is filled with extraordinary cinematography that belongs in a segment of the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth. The rest is unintelligible bizarre nonsense. It has no "narrative." Like abstract art I suppose those who love it make up something to explain it's meaning. Somewhere in the 6 lines of dialogue Brad Pitt defines "subjective" as something in your own mind that cannot be proved (or disproved) by others. All opinions are subjective and I respect those of others, but it's amazing to me that anyone could call this mind-numbing experience a masterpiece of film making. Imagine if the "acid trip" scene from Easy Rider had been the entire film. That's what this is... just a lot longer. Expand
  44. Oct 12, 2011
    Perhaps because the film's so gorgeous and there have been so many gushing reviews folks are afraid of appearing uncool if they say this movie was the psychotic exercise of someone with way too much money and not anyone around him honest enough to say hey Terry knock off this talking-to-god lunacy.
  45. Oct 2, 2011
    This movie goes to far into nowhere. This is a movie you really, really have to try and like. You haver to look for the meaning of what it means. It's better for DVD so you can go back and watch again so you can develop an explaination of what the movie is trying to say. To me it's a baffle them with BS movie and not the great film I was expecting. Horrible.
  46. Sep 26, 2011
    It's a Turd. I don't know what i was watching and frankly i don't care. There is no true linear story, it was like watching an environmental dvd and someone's boring home movies. i'm not surprised they boo'd at Cannes. It's like the Emperor's New one wants to doubt his genius but i will. It's a turd...a big smelly turd.
  47. Sep 21, 2011
    I felt like this movie 5 hours length. So Einstein's theory of relativity says this movie is not good.Also it proved to me not every movie of Brad Pitt is will be good.This movie is just a slide show of some beautiful scenery with worthless story.
  48. Sep 20, 2011
    If I were to stare at the my screensaver, peppered as it is with pretty vacation snaps and family memories, for 2 hours I would feel nearly as fulfilled. Derealisation is a recognised phenomena associated with staring at disconnected, sometimes abstract, images... sadly that associated sensation of transcendency is illusory, an epiphenomenon. That said, that gushing awe and realisation happens no more freely with this pretentious, introspective movie, than with my photo slideshow, the difference being my computer can skip forward past some of the tedium. Expand
  49. Sep 16, 2011
    Disappointing movie, 10 minutes thought I was watching a documentary wtf.! they did not understand a plot way too rare and really boring ... the only thing salvageable is the excellent cinematography, the soundtrack and sound effects .. the rest next.!
  50. Sep 3, 2011
    I too signed up to Metacritic purely to review this film.

    Simply put, I loved The Thin Red Line and went to see Tree Of Life on the strength of this.

    ToL is a 2 1/4 hour art wank trip that looks like a cross between a NASA documentary and autumnal adverts for fabric softener. It's message is lost in a confusion of pretensiousness, and is one that is not worth telling in the first

    If you strap a camcorder to a dog and let it run around for 2 hours, you'd get a better film.
  51. Sep 3, 2011
    Roger Moore from the Orlando Sentinel review says it all. "Glibly put, this challenging time-skipping rumination is the big screen equivalent of watching that "Tree" grow."
    The only good thing is that now i know which reviewer to follow. Nothing more to say.
  52. Aug 20, 2011
    What did I miss? I hated this movie! It felt kind the actors were playing their parts by satellite linkup; zero chemistry. Very disappointing and roof that you can through all your money behind a great cast and still mess it up :(
  53. Aug 1, 2011
    There are people who will call this film art. There are people who will call this film poetry. When you hear those defences, just remember - there is lots of really bad art and poetry! I'm surprised to see so many experienced critics drawn in by this piece of pretentious nonsense. Who says there are two paths through life - the path of nature and the path of grace? And who says nature inevitably equals all things bad, and so is the father, or that grace is all things good and so of course the mother? This black and white vision of the world is not sophisticated - it is simplistic. Don't be fooled by this film! Expand
  54. Jul 28, 2011
    Shamefully derivative, in love with its own symbolism, and at least 30 minutes too long. First glimpse of eternity---fine, I got it. But after a zillion Hubble shots---would have prefered waterboarding!!
    Go back to film school. At least the costumers got it right.
  55. Jul 26, 2011
    I cannot understand why many otherwise excellent critics, such as Roger Ebert (with whom I usually agree, more or less) did not pan this movie. It is pretentious crap. To say that it is personal, that it is Malick's personal poetic or philosophical vision is to let him off the hook for a piece of appallingly boring mediocrity. I have very sophisticated tastes and see lots of indie films. I have a great appreciation for great writing, directing, and acting, and have lots of knowledge about literature and music - in fact I am an expert on music. Of the movies that have received favorable critical reviews and which I have seen (and that includes the vast majority of those movies, as I am a film fanatic), this is BY FAR the worst one of them I have ever seen. Complete waste of time. Do not believe the hype. This movie is a failure and it leads me to believe that Malick is a complete fraud in fact. I am still scratching my head. Expand
  56. Jul 25, 2011
    This film had an incredible amount of potential. Every second of the preview did carry a great sense of intrigue. The reality is that, although one may consider themselves to be artistic, this does not mean that one can claim that their art is good. The film is hands down beautiful, the acting is incredible, and the concept is straightforward. The film however can not decide what it wants to be. The scenes rely to much on artistic value and throw in very superfluous and archaic metaphysical scenes; accompanied with an historical scene of the origin of the universe. You may conclude that this movie is a horrible malformation of three different movies into one. Expand
  57. Jul 21, 2011
    This would have to be the worst movie ever made, the disjointed story telling, the haphazard collection of Hubblesque photographs, the failure of the characters to age, the diabolically poor performance by Sean Penn just make this the most distressingly depressing movie of our time.

    I am so glad they don't sell razorblades in the foyer.
  58. SAS
    Jul 20, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film seems like a desperate attempt to create a beautiful film that stands out from others, however the result is a substance-less and confused mish-mash of semi religious, semi romantic ideas about the world, life and some memories of the main character's childhood.

    You also get about 40 minutes worth of computer generated images of galaxies, dinosaurs, caves, Windows Vista screen savers and a few other things, all softly faded together and narrated by a softly spoken voice citing phrases such as "o brother" and the like... . One would guess it is trying to tell the story of creation, but who knows!

    The other half of the film is depiction of a young boy's childhood, again delivering very little value to the audience.

    To give credit to the film, if you are watching on a good HD screen, some of the cgi scenes are beautiful and there are probably about 2-3 meaningful sentences spoken through the film. Brad Pitt's role is played well, however is somewhat similar to his other casting in 50-60s.

    In summary, if there is a film that will leave your head scratching and makes you want to ask for your money back, this is it!
  59. Jul 15, 2011
    The completely polarized reviews here, where everyone seems to give it 10 or 1, probably tell you everything you need to know. If you're a high-art film and/or Malick fan, you'll love it. If you're dubious; trust that instinct! Me? I cannot remember the last time I noticed so many people in the theater squirming in their seats waiting for the film to end. Toward the finish of the movie, during some of the (many) fades-to-black, you could feel the palpable tension in the audience as we collectively hoped to see credits roll. I know there are fans who will assume I'm too stupid to get it, but this film is simply not the rich tapestry the 10-scorers here seem to believe. I found it to be weapons-grade self-indulgence, possessing a limited number of cards that it plays repeatedly. Feels way longer than 135 minutes. It gets 2 not zero for the striking visuals â Expand
  60. Jul 15, 2011
    I was thinking that watching all the small town happiness cliches that I had already seen in The Thin Red line might work out if the film turned out to be the autobiography of David Koresh ... and there was a brief flash of unexplained flaming house near the end, but I think that was just a flashback to Badlands ... so, no, it turns out to be the autobiography of Sean Penn, but that's not evenaccurate because I knew Sean's father and he was not Brad Pitt. Expand
  61. Jul 12, 2011
    One of the most self-indulgent films I've ever seen. I'm stunned that so many critics liked this. It's different, yes, and it is beautiful in a purely visual way, but it is not enjoyable. Slow, tedious, and extraordinarily boring. The ending was so bad, I thought it was a joke, and we were being filmed for our reactions. Sorry, this film is overhyped, overrated, it just isn't that good.
  62. Jul 8, 2011
    yuch! Never (or rarely) has my reaction to a movie been at such variance to the critics and the consensus.
    Brad Pitt meets Hubble telescope and Jurassic Park!
  63. Jul 7, 2011
    I have been excited for this film ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, but The Tree of Life disappointed me completely. The only reason I give this film a 2 was because the cinematography was beautiful - the movie takes place in sprawling suburbs, dense forests and ultramodern urban environments that were very pretty to look at. But what killed this movie for me was not the lack of plot and development, it was the excruciatingly dull 15 minute montages of everything from oceans to CGI'd dinosaurs. Three people in the theatre left during the longest of these sequences, and I found myself either falling asleep or silently begging for them to end. I even considered leaving myself. Although I appreciate the director's attempts to create something artful, The Tree of Life was not enjoyable in the slightest for me, or anyone else in the theatre. When the credits finally rolled, people let out sighs of relief and I heard at least two "finally!"s! Collapse
  64. Jul 3, 2011
    This is on behalf of movielover1 below, who mistakenly gave this a 10 when he/she clearly hated it and meant to rate it a 0, as follows:

    movielover1 Jun 20, 201110 Due to this movie, I lost 2 hours of my life that I cannot replace. I consider myself to be perceptive, curious and smart however this movie did not spark any of those traits. Several people in the theater left after about 20
    minutes. Those that remained often groaned as they shifted in their seats. When it was finally over we chatted with many people - all of whom said "what the hell was that???". I can honestly say that it was probably the worst movie I have ever seen.â Expand
  65. Jul 3, 2011
    With 24 hours passed since watching this movie, I feel I can now write a more objective review of this movie.
    This movie is a hollywood attempt at artistic sophistication. It's comes off like McDonald's trying to do fine dining, or your local bricklayer attempting surgery.
    It is laborious, overdone, and so so heavy handed it becomes unbearable. Fifteen minutes into the movie I thought to
    myself that it reminds me of the style of the "the thin red line" (a movie I really liked and recommend), and found out on metacritic that it is indeed the same director. But this movie lacks the balance of "the thin red line" and looses itself in the bigger picture it tries to portray.
    People in the theatre just started snickering toward the final minutes as the endless array of imagery was crudely sequenced together - and this happened in an independent cinema!!
    What this film lacked was subtelty and balance. Its a shame because there were ingredients there from which something very special could have been made.
  66. Jul 2, 2011
    I signed up for the site just to write this review. I've never felt so misled by a Metacritic metascore.

    This movie is not intellectual. It is absolute drek. I like nuanced, interesting movies, and this is neither.
  67. Jun 30, 2011
    Indulgent mess of a movie. Had potential but the worse sin is to bore your audience and he did that. The casting of Sean Penn was inexplicable. Brad Pitt was actually not bad, but opportunity missed overall.
  68. Jun 29, 2011
    This was like two movies in one. It should have been about 45 minutes shorter. I loved the visually stunning parts in the middle, but by the end of the movie I was saying just end it PLEASE, but they didn't.
  69. Jun 27, 2011
    Note how many people below meant to rate this a "0" and instead mistakenly rated it a "10", which is hilarious as I almost did the same thing. I love movies, especially quirky ones. I'm well educated, well read, well-traveled, professional, and reasonably hip. I just registered for this website, for the sole purpose of warning people about this movie. I got suckered into it by the critic reviews (Steven Rae, you sellout). I gave the movie a chance, and after 30 minutes realized the ENTIRE movie was going to be like that. And you sit there in a theater full of people knowing they don't like it either but are pretending that they do. It's the worst feeling in the world, like you're part of some dishonest, pretentious machine. Ugh I had to shower afterwards. I walked out on this movie, the first time I have ever done so, and I've seen some real bombs. If you don't believe me, for Pete's sake at least wait for the rental so you can put a different one in. Expand
  70. Jun 26, 2011
    Perhaps since this movie made me think "please god let it end" for an hour, it was a religious experience. Otherwise not so much. This was the Hubble space telescope meets pseudo profundity. There is nothing quite so trite as overwrought emotion, and this movie is really trite. With access to the technology necessary it could have been made by a high school student - there wasn't an insight in it that most overwrought 17 yr olds haven't had. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so blew two hours; trust me and don't make that same mistake yourself. Expand
  71. Jun 24, 2011
    just, i don't know... I had to laugh by a movie trying so hard to explain why God takes away children. It is because God's creation is so much bigger apparently, we are just a tiny part of it. There are dinosaurs and the cosmos and the universe (see Hubble pictures). You know? It was said in the bible to Job. "Where were you when I created the earth, you arrogant **** don't complain". In the end we all go to heaven and then you'll get to see all your loved ones back that have gone. You have to walk through a door that is standing in a desert and if you do then you will find lots of people in white robes that walk barefooted on a beach. Yup, that's them, your long lost ones. Aren't you glad you now know where they've been all that time? It is a very spiritual experience and I gained much insight in life's deeper meaning. Zzzzz..... Expand
  72. Jun 23, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Tree of Life is like watching a drama about a family crash into Koyaanisqatsi. The central narrative is well-acted and poignant at times, but it gets lost in a ponderous muddle of poorly done CGI dinosaurs and stock footage of canyons, waterfalls, and reflections of clouds rolling across glass skyscrapers. Even the score, with its heavy use of woodwinds and choir, could've been composed by Philip Glass. I got the impression Malick was trying to serve up profundities about life, death and the connectedness of everything, but alas, I'm a mere mortal and I couldn't follow this mysterious trail of breadcrumbs. The metaphors are bloated-red-giant-sun-consuming-the-earth kind of overblown. I give the film credit for its beautiful cinematography, but even there it tries one's patience, with pointless slice of life scenes that drag on forever. The film's running time is apparently geological. Save yourself whatever it would cost to see this pretentious mess and buy a can of paint instead. You'll surely find more entertainment in watching it dry. Expand
  73. Jun 21, 2011
    I am an artist and I consider myself to be very open minded. I am also somewhat a fan of Brad Pitt's acting. Regardless, it did not make me like this film. I was disappointed in the story line and embarrassed for Brad to have his name associated with this artistic disaster. It was just bad. Scenes were choppy. There was no rhyme and reason to some of the scenes. A flashback in time focused on one particular year in childhood instead of a lifetime. And, we certainly could have done without the 'Jurassic Park dinasour' scenes. In the theatre, throughout the movie, people sitting around me were saying, "I don't get it" and I was thinking the same thing. It was a waste of my money and time. Expand
  74. Jun 21, 2011
    I couldn't wait for this film to be over. Terry Malik rips off Stanley Kubrick's 2001; Orson Wells' Magnificent Ambersons and several other "Scenes From A Marriage" - like films in producing one giant yawn of an overextended lesson in a child's coming of age yarn. We see the signs of childhood nature contrasted against the adult world of glass and steel highrises again, and again, and again. So too are the scenes of the domineering father and servile, but repressed, free-spirited wife, bickering again, and again and again. While one can't criticized the level of the acting and the occasionally impressive photography, this could have been made as a silent movie - and by that I mean not even snipets of dialogue cards - for the lack of impact of any verbal communications between any of the characters. Skip this mess unless you're in need of a good two hour's sleep. Expand
  75. Jun 21, 2011
    This movie was trying to be way to 'deep'. All of the drawn out space and dinosaur adventures are pointless, and add absolutely nothing to the movie. The middle portion of the movie- where it is actually comprehensible- is mediocre, but watchable, but add all the unnecessary filler, and you get a crap movie. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying too hard.
  76. Jun 20, 2011
    The latest from Terrence Mallick continues to solidify his rep as a pompous twit and/or brilliant filmmaker. There's no plot or dialogueâ
  77. Jun 11, 2011
    Pretentious rambling sporadic self conflagulation lauded by critics too afraid to go against the popular grain. This is one man's random splattering of hubble photographs interspersed with Brat Pitt posing as a real person and Sean Penn attempting to look thoughtful in cameo shots. The only real actors are the boys left adrift in a plotless story. Save your $ and buy a lottery ticket instead. At least that randomness has a shot at paying off. Expand
  78. Jun 11, 2011
    Total triumph of form over content. This movie is pathetically obvious, so daub that it hurts. Tons of cheap cliches. Movie just screams on me with obviousness. After 2 and a half hour of movie I was unable to tell what is this movie all about. One will say - about life. Come on. This kind of story was told several hundred of times. This is neither new or interesting - it is simple as a brick. The worst movies are those that gives you nothing and you come out of cinema with nothing in head. This one is even worse - leaves you distaste and feeling of being cheated. Complete waste of time. Expand
  79. RSS
    Jun 10, 2011
    I'm sorry -- what is this movie? Don't expect a story or caring about the characters. Good visuals, but lacking reason. I can't remember the last time I wanted to get up and walk out of a movie, but this came close.
  80. Jun 9, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the most pretentious movies I've ever seen, from the film's opening, whispered voice-overs which are virtually incomprehensible to anyone with A+ hearing, to the final, final, final ending when all meet joyfully or joylessly (once again the audience doesn't know what to think and ultimately doesn't care) in Heaven with images and philosophical BS I haven't seen since enduring the pandering, ridiculous, simplistic movie shown at the Mormon pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Contemplating your navel has been taken to a new low. Last, but not least, what was Sean Penn doing in this movie? Looking for his Maalox and Gas-X? How such an excellent, caring actor and person got involved in this twaddle 'tis a puzzlement. Expand
  81. Jun 5, 2011
    I do not know quite where to begin. My wife and I are college graduates, she is an attorney and I have done some graduate work. We read about this movie in the Austin paper on Friday because Terry Malick lives here. A lengthy article which only touched on the utter incomprehensibility of this movie. Malick may be a genius in the same way Jackson Pollack was: perhaps once someone tediously explains what you are looking at, you smile, walk away, but still dont get it. If you thought 2001: A Space Odessey was challenging, you are not going to like this. It starts with an overly drawn out Big Bang sequence, contains a dinosaur sequence fresh from Jurrasic Park, and closes with the end of time. I say "closes" because the movie is SO long, you think (and hope) it ends well before it does (several false closes) and then thankfully ends, seemingly five hours later. I wish I were more artistic and etherial and could somehow recommend this movie, which clearly was made for artistic and etherial critics, and those endless Cannes/Sundance/Toronto film festivals for an award. We ordinarily trust Metacritic's critic scores faithfully to attend or not attend movies. This time, ignore them and trust the User Reviews. Expand
  82. Jun 5, 2011
    This is one of the most over rated and underwhelming films in years. It is worst than "The Thin Red Line" . I got the message but I have seen the message delivered in other films. I have also seen the message delivered in a manner that makes you give a damn. Malick is a pretentious fraud hiding as an essentialist guru. I feel sorry for him and the casual film goer who will be sucked in by the glowing reviews. A.O. Scott of the NY Times should apologize for his review. Simply a disaster disguised as art! Expand
  83. Jun 5, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Worst movie ever 20 people got up and left I wish I had and gotten my money back.
    What were they thinking............................................................................
  84. Jun 4, 2011
    It is a well-known cinema fact that any movie with both people and dinosaurs can not be good. I wonder how long it took Sean Penn to learn his lines.
  85. Jun 4, 2011
    Punishingly pretentious. No stable narrative or dialogues. Piece of crap. Terrence Malick really is a very pseudo-intellectual director. I hope this film is a huge failure
  86. May 31, 2011
    The first 20 minutes are a succession of postcard shots with no consistency and no dialogs. No story telling, people don't talk, they just whisper "god... oh god... please god...". It was so centered on religion that it became both boring and ridiculous in a matter of minutes. This does not deserve to be called a movie, it only felt like a scam. Even Lost Highway immediately makes more sense than that! Expand
  87. May 29, 2011
    Painful experience, this movie was really bad. The lack of story and important elements turns it into a film in front of which you are bound to fall asleep if not for very strong will power. I'm even reconsidering giving this 1 on 10 ...
    After merely 10 minutes, people were already leaving from the cinema. This movie was a joke. Sean Penn acts two minutes at the beginning and for
    approximately the same duration at the end. His mention on the film advertisements is a real steal. He doesn't even speak, barely ...
    The opening cosmos-creation scenes are interesting, but fairly boring after sitting for 30 minutes in front of them while listening to the snoring of the man at your right (who gave up at the very start).
    Well, I do not recommend this feature, which is a very poor one in my opinion.
  88. May 28, 2011
    If you're idea of this movie is watching someone paint for 135 minutes, then dive right in. Granted, it's a beautiful painting, but it's tedious and you'll be relieved when it's finished. Details are irrelevant, this is a 30K feet film that masters students will toil over for generations. I felt like I had to counterbalance the film with some mind-numbing action flick when I was done. It's not that I don't appreciate the art of film, but I would like some semblance of a plot and a little less whispering. Bravo, but no thanks. Expand
  89. May 27, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Beautiful to look at but a big snore for big parts of the film. How many exploding galaxies, space blobs, microbes and waterfall shots can you have in one film? The CGI of the dinosaurs wasn't great. Brad Pitt is excellent but you want more of that story later in the 60s and less of the endless creation sequences. The ending is long, tedious and not captivating. Disappointing. Much rather watch Badlands or Days of Heaven again. An excellent visual experiment that doesn't connect emotionally, except in a couple of brief scenes. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jul 4, 2011
    There is simply nothing like it out there: profound, idiosyncratic, complex, sincere and magical; a confirmation that cinema can aspire to art.
  2. 75
    The result actually plays like a divine pronouncement, cosmic in scope and oracular in tone, a cinematic sermon on the mount that shows its creator in exquisite form.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 22, 2011
    Ponderous and perplexing, a somberly audacious film to make viewers swoon or snore, take your pick. It is defiantly opaque, a free-form meditation on nature and nurture across millennia with a tinge of biblical grace.