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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 502 Ratings

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  1. Jun 2, 2014
    0
    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
  2. May 18, 2014
    7
    I must say I realy like this movie. It's not predictable, has an interesting storyline, visualy stunning. It's mesmerising and poetic. The video that came to life. Pure art.
  3. Apr 24, 2014
    10
    A masterpiece always has unique things, epic sides, original ones and unduplicatable. The Tree of Life is that case. This film is so poetic, stylish and beautiful. (One of the best poetic film ever made). The core of this film is the visual and its visualization. That the unique and original in this film. You will be confused and feel peculiar with this film, at least in early 50 minutes, you would say "What is that?". But, There is 88 minutes left to see and to understand. No wonder If this film called the best film in 2011. Expand
  4. Apr 23, 2014
    10
    Well, this is certainty a love-it-or-hate-it movie. It's not that the movie is the best film I've ever seen, and I'm sure those who will hate it won't think it's the worst movie they've ever seen, either. It almost feels like an experimental film. It uses nature and beautiful cinematography to tell its story, and uses words less. It paints a great picture of life in general, and almost feels like 2001: A Space Odyssey in some cases. The actors involved give Oscar-worthy performances, the kids included. This movie is definitely only for certain people, and I am one of them. Those who don't like it probably didn't understand it; but that's okay, it's not supposed to be for everyone. Expand
  5. Dec 12, 2013
    0
    incredibly boring movie.it 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.
  6. Nov 5, 2013
    2
    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.
    Expand
  7. Oct 15, 2013
    10
    The photography of this movie is beautiful, the plot too. Terrence Malick did a wonderful job, and the acting was amazing. What I like about this movie is that it isn't obvious, it makes you wonder, it's definitely not made for the common viewer. Like I said, beautiful movie.
  8. Jul 22, 2013
    8
    The Tree of Life is a strange one for sure, it's a movie I find hard to fault because it does very little wrong, I only understood a bit of the story, and the rest went right over my head, but I was captivated by the films beauty. There's is just no denying how amazing this film looks, it is an utter joke that the film didn't get Best Achievement in Cinematography in the Oscars, the camerawork is just amazing and the whole formation sequence was just gorgeous. I'd take something like this film over a CGI fest anyday in terms of visuals. Then another thing that was amazing about the film was the music, it perfectly suited the film, an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack. The acting in the film is amazing, there's very little dialogue in the movie so the actors mostly have to just be emotional without talking and they do an amazing job. Then there's the plot, which people have argued that there isn't even one, but there most assuredly is, it's just very unconventionally told. It's disappointing that it's structure is so irregular because I'm sure there's a beautiful story to be found in this film, and I would have love to of found it, but I only found a fraction of it. Terrance Maliks ambitious vision may only show to the most patient and open minded moviegoers, but I still found The Tree of Life to be a breathtaking (and sometimes frustrating) experience. Expand
  9. Jun 13, 2013
    0
    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.
  10. May 21, 2013
    6
    The movie was like watching moving art. It was the best visually pleasing film of the year. The actors were great as well. It wasn't the best film and didn't have much more other then that. This is why I give it a 6/10
  11. Apr 16, 2013
    1
    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
  12. Apr 11, 2013
    8
    Oneiric and profound. Absolutely the greatest movie of the year.
  13. Apr 8, 2013
    2
    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.
  14. Mar 25, 2013
    10
    This movie made me cry like a stupid baby. A word of advice before watching: don't approach it as a film but as a work of moving art. If you give the movie the investment it requires and have the emotional and spiritual clarity to receive it, you will be rewarded well beyond the gamble of a couple hours' time.
  15. Feb 15, 2013
    0
    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.
  16. Jan 28, 2013
    7
    The Tree of Life is a movie that really makes you think. It's not hard to follow and I wouldn't call it "confusing" but if you're looking for a movie to just simply watch and not analyze this is not the movie for you. The only problem with this movie is the fact that both the beginning and ending "artistic" sequences are too long. My only other complaint is that the movie could have ended several times but the ending sequence as I just said drags on for just slightly too long. This movie is lead by great acting by both Pitt and Chastain. Pitt playing the hard and traditional father and Chastain playing Pitt's wife and the emotional mother. This film also features theological ties and biblical references something typical of the movie's director Terrence Malick. Overall The Tree of Life is a good movie. It's not for everyone but I would certainly recommend it. Expand
  17. Jan 13, 2013
    4
    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
  18. Jan 6, 2013
    5
    This Movie is a very beautiful representation of life and how family all interacts with each other. However, a movie hast to have a story and Terrance Mallick does not understand that.
  19. Dec 22, 2012
    1
    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!
  20. Dec 6, 2012
    10
    What is The Tree of Life? It's a celebration of life. It's a prayer to the one who creates all things. It's a hymn of reality about both the good and evil in the world. It's a reminder of who we are and where we come from. A true poetic masterpiece. One of the best films of 2011.
  21. Nov 26, 2012
    10
    I can't even begin to explain how IMPORTANT this movie is, so I won't. I'd just advice people to watch it - it's necessary, especially for people who love Cinema. It's unique and has gracefully shaken my limbs forever, and I'm oh so grateful.
  22. Nov 24, 2012
    1
    {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
  23. Nov 11, 2012
    6
    Why did I watch it?
    Came across this one after seeing it mentioned in Sight & Sounds 2012 greatest film poll. Although it didn't make the final list, 16 critics voted it in their top 10 greatest films of all time. That coupled with the fact that I enjoyed another of director Terence Malick's films, The Thin Red Line, made this worth investigating.

    What's it all about?
    Simply put, the
    film largely chronicles the childhood memories of a middle-aged man Jack O'Brien (Sean Penn). Growing up in Waco, Texas, Jack is the oldest of three boys, sons of parents Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain with contrasting views on life. Pitt is frustrated with his achievements in life and raises his sons with a firm hand, in particular Jack, as he attempts to impress upon them that life is a cruel game that must be conquered through hard work and desire. In Chastain, the boys have a mother with a carefree spirit, happy to simply be alive amongst the wonders of God. In between the present day and the retold memories, the viewer is told at the film's offset that one of the younger boys died as a young adult in military service.

    Should you watch it?
    The Tree of Life is without doubt the most difficult film I have ever watched. I'll admit to watching this in two sessions as I stepped away from it after the first twenty minutes or so, frustrated with the lack of narrative and religious whispering behind scenes of light flickering in the dark.

    Thankfully, I returned to it later although I almost gave up again during the twenty minute sequence covering the creation of Earth and life upon it. This was like watching a nature documentary and culminating with CGI dinosaurs, I still question the necessity for this sequence. To me it felt completely detached from the 'the tree of life' that was the telling of the life of Jack.

    The film is edited to within an inch of it's life as some fantastically beautiful shots and imagery are interspersed between the scenes of the family's relationship. I believe the only person who will truly appreciate and understand the intricacy of the film's editing and imagery is Malick himself.

    A corner is turned once the philosophy of evolution is put to one side and the narrative (although still unconventional) begins. Pitt, Chastain and Hunter McCracken (young Jack) give truly excellent performances. As the oldest of three brothers myself, I related to the boys innocently running amok in the neighbourhood, usually going too far in their youthful exuberance and daring (and usually the younger brother paying the price!). I really enjoyed this section of the story, as Jack became troublesome and his relationship with his father began to breakdown to the point of him considering dropping a car on his head. Disappointingly though, for me the ending was as unrewarding as the film's start leaving my enjoyment of The Tree of Life a real quandary.
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  24. Oct 21, 2012
    9
    This is the perfect example of how movies can be works of art. What separates this movie from other pretentious, artsy films, is that everything that is incorporated in this movie is instrumental is provoking emotion, developing the storyline, and making the audience think about life. It proposes deep, philosophical questions, and seeks to answer those questions. It does so beautifully, to the point where the viewer is completely satisfied by the ending, and ends up actually feeling more optimistic about the world in general. The script is absolutely perfect. It's a great psychological movie, as well as a great philosophical movie. There are many different themes in this movie, whether they are just barely touched on, or if they are focused on throughout the entire movie, and each one is executed with absolute precision and subtlety, resulting in an unbelievably powerful impact on the viewer. This is the kind of movie you don't easily forget, and the kind of movie that will still be remembered in 50 years. Expand
  25. Sep 17, 2012
    0
    The Tree of Life is the most wanky and self-indulgent film I
  26. Sep 7, 2012
    10
    "The Tree of Life" is one of my favorite movies. There are one two movies by now which have reached a score of ten by me. It really changed and inspired me. The movie shows a kind of movie making which I've never seen before. It's a very philosophical movie and you need to have some certain attitudes about life, nature, science and philosophical thoughts. Honestly, if you don't think during this movie you won't understand it. And you need to think and give the film a chance to reveal it's individual meaning. If you ask ten people who liked this film what the film is about you will get eleven answers. That's usual for those kinds of topics. The movie builds a bridge between science, philosophy, theology and life at it's purest. Indeed, it's very pantheistic and that's just great. A film about life. Nothing more nothing less. Expand
  27. Aug 10, 2012
    4
    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.
  28. Jul 30, 2012
    1
    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.
  29. Jul 8, 2012
    0
    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 ****
  30. Jun 17, 2012
    9
    This movie is simply brilliant. It does not take you by the hand and tell you the tale - there are indeed many tales to be had; such is life. It deals with such concepts as the frailty of life, the cruelty and unpredictability of nature and man's meaningless part in an infinite immensely powerful universe. Every part of the movie is important; if you are bored or do not understand why he's showing volcanoes you're plainly dumb. These forces are meant to cut your breath as you ponder over the lost child; and the nature which took him away. I feel I have grown from watching this movie and greater appreciate what's important in life. Firstly, this movie is important, so watch it. Expand
  31. May 30, 2012
    0
    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.
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  32. May 12, 2012
    8
    The Trees of Life is not a film for the average audience. Most people would probably hate it. But Terrence Malick has outdone himself- the cinematography is fabulous, and the story is simple yet touching,
  33. Apr 27, 2012
    10
    A masterpiece only for hardcore movie lovers. Many will misunderstand it others will be cheated by it and some will view it as another masterpiece from arguably the best director of all time. The first time I viewed it I was not prepared for it and found it boring pretentious and just a movie full of pretty pictures. However Malick finds a way to evoke a feeling of spirituality and wonder, Could this be one of the best movies ever made in history, maybe. Expand
  34. Apr 25, 2012
    9
    The Tree of life is more of an experience than a movie, and a very spiritual one at that. If that sentence alone scares you away from this film, then it is probably not for you. But if you are an open-minded movie-goer, that doesn't mind movies that ask you to think and analyze your own life, chances are you will admire this movie as much as I did. Some people who watch this film will get something completely different from it than what some else does. Whether or not your reaction to this movie is positive or negative depends solely on you, the viewer. It seems like most people who disliked it did not have the patience for it. Patience is one thing you need in order to enjoy this movie. The Tree of Life does not contain your run-of-the-mill movie plot, with typical characters, and typical situations. After the initial "birth of the universe" segment, the movie moves from one reality to another, from one thought to the other, effectively depicting the protagonist's thoughts and memories as they come to his mind as the movie progresses. The gorgeous imagery truly is something to behold, and the beautiful musical score accompanies these images well. I thought about this film for a few days after watching it. It had me analyzing my own life in general, especially my relationships with my mother, my father, my siblings etc. As a whole, The Tree of Life is a movie that truly is greater than the sum of it's parts, and is unlike anything I've seen before. Expand
  35. Apr 24, 2012
    10
    The best film released in 2011. Filled with extraordinary performances from Hunter McCraken, Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt. With other-worldly direction, cinematography and visual effects.
  36. Apr 14, 2012
    10
    So dreadfully rarely is film let out of its cage. So terribly scarcely is the language of movies used as though it's never been spoken before. This is cinema unbound. Terrence Malick's fifth film is a grand victory of human awareness and stands among the greatest, most fearlessly original and most universal of all films. It explores human experience from the inside, from within its characters' thoughts and sensations. Malick identifies its protagonist as its viewer and assembles a multitude of brief impressions of astounding vividness to act as an analogue of our own collection of memories. Roger Ebert wrote of Charlie Kaufman's great 'Synecdoche New York',

    'For thousands of years, fiction made no room for characters who changed. Men felt the need for an explanation of their baffling existence, created gods, and projected onto them the solutions for their enigmas. These gods of course had to be immutable, for they stood above the foibles of men. Zeus was Zeus and Apollo was Apollo and that was that. We envisioned them on mountaintops, where they were little given to introspection. We took the situation as given, did our best, created arts that were always abstractions in the sense that they existed outside ourselves. Harold Bloom believes Shakespeare introduced the human personality into fiction. When Richard III looked in the mirror and asked himself what role he should play, and Hamlet asked the fundamental question To be, or not to be, the first shoe was dropped, and "Synecdoche" and many other works have dropped the second shoe.'

    'The Tree of Life' is an other of the greatest of these works. As the years pass, our films seem to be moving deeper and deeper inward. This film attempts to be a mirror. It shows us a life such as our own and asks us to discern what is important in a life, what is good, what is lasting; and what is meaningless noise, what does not last. Kaufman's film also explored the human experience in an unconventional way, but while it had very little compassion and was devoid of wonder, Malick's film possesses those qualities and others in rich abundance.

    I love, love, love the way Malick makes movies. He spurns artificial light, films his actors constantly (even when they don't know it), foreswears story-boards, always seeks to captivate fleeting, chance moments; a butterfly alighting on Mrs. O'Brien's hand, thunder flashing in the skies before Pocahontas, an inquisitive baby giving John Smith a kiss. He films and edits what ever and how ever he wants; what ever feels right, what ever is beautiful. He loves open fields, tall grass. He loves twilight and dusk. He loves water. He loves Sol, loves its light shining among plants, among people. He loves flocks of birds, hands holding hands, heads turned upward. He loves things that glow. He nearly always shoots manually; his camera is free. It swings and flutters about Smith and Pocahontas as they embrace. It runs joyously through a forest, peering upward and making Sol beam and dance among the branches and leaves. I am so very grateful there exists such a film-maker as him. I am stunned to learn that Malick himself lost his own younger brother as a young man, for which he largely blames himself, and has borne that guilt and grief for the rest of his life. This explains so much about his films - this one above all - and the depth, meaning and power of it are made so much more profound by this knowledge. 'The Tree of Life' is the product of a tortured man, and what we see in it is not only his philosophical message, but is from his own wounded heart. His own pain is present. We are told artists must suffer for their art, and here Terrence Malick, in his anguish for his little brother he's carried since the late sixties, has made a film which stands among the greatest and most essential of all human art. Jack's vision of the after-life is also more clear in this light; what Malick shows us is not only his belief, but is deeply personally important to him. It is his consolation, his hope.

    There's a moment in the film that moves me more than film has ever before moved me. One morning, when the boys wake to find their father has gone on a trip, and they're free to romp in the house and tease their mother with a lizard and for once life is as it ought be with them, they run outside laughing with her as 'Les Baricades Misterieuses' plays, and we hear the mother's prayer for her children - for all that live. 'Help each other. Love every one. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.'
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  37. Apr 11, 2012
    3
    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
  38. Mar 26, 2012
    1
    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.
  39. Mar 26, 2012
    6
    The movie is basically about questioning the world, why do certain things take place? Questioning religion and why god does the things he does? What is the overall purpose of life? Conceptually and aesthetically this movie is beautiful giving lushes imagery. Explaining to us that with destruction comes great creation and that this is the circle of life. However, where the movie falls flat is in its story. I felt as if the characters were not defined. I could relate to them, but I couldnâ Expand
  40. Mar 25, 2012
    8
    The illustrations Malick uses to emphasize the vulnerabilities of his characters against the backdrops of an infinite universe is part of the reason his film is surreal in beauty and haunting in its poetry.
  41. Mar 24, 2012
    0
    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
  42. Mar 17, 2012
    10
    Terrence Malick has created a masterpiece with this film. The cinematography is simply beautiful, the best I have ever seen. Brad Pitt delivers a great performance as an overbearing father, and Jessica Chastain's performance as the caring mother is equally perfect This movie deserves the countless accolades it has earned, and then some.
  43. Mar 11, 2012
    1
    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.
  44. Mar 10, 2012
    0
    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!
  45. Mar 1, 2012
    8
    I have no trouble recalling my maiden voyage in Mr. Malick's cinematic set-ups, 6 years ago THE NEW WORLD (2005, and a medium 6/10 in my rating system), which I almost forsook due to an extreme frazzle (a grudge rising from anger more than tiresomeness), then after a couple of years, the second time is with DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978), which unexpectedly procures my staunch affection, a 9/10. So the third one comes now, notched up the Golden Palm in Cannes last year, itâ Expand
  46. Feb 18, 2012
    1
    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
  47. Feb 17, 2012
    10
    This movie is life. There is nothing else I can say: this movie is amazing.
  48. Feb 11, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I absolutely loved this movie. Yes, I'll admit, it feels like you're watching a home video, but it would have to be THE BEST cinematography for nearly any given video. Nearly every scene was absolutely breathtaking. It's about life (as suggested by the title) and provides a beautiful metaphor for life. Expand
  49. Feb 6, 2012
    8
    The Tree of Life isn't a film, it's an experience. Malick's bold vision is a tad overwhelming at times and has the potential to alienate viewers due to its sheer size (the movie stands at about 2 hours and 20 minutes, but it feels far longer), sheer depth (you could go on for days trying to analyze everything you are presented with), and a lack of attachment to the characters. But that last one is intentional. The editing of the film only makes it possible to get glimpses of each character's life before it switches to something else. Just because it is hard to get attached to the characters doesn't mean that they don't show emotion. All of the actors, including the kids, did a very nuanced portrayal of people living their lives. The film is not about the narrative, though. It's about how you personally feel after you are presented with everything the film throws at you. And that will be what determines whether you enjoy the experience or not. You might love it, you might hate it. I for one, thought I would hate it, but ended up being thoroughly enthralled. The Tree of Life is a testament to how transitory and fleeting life really is.That being said, if you can't handle movies without a clear narrative or plot, don't see this. If you can't handle movies that are too long and complex don't see this. It's not for everyone. Expand
  50. Feb 5, 2012
    10
    Terrence Malick builds life in this film. It is definitely a hard movie to watch and not easy to understand let alone comprehend. When I saw this movie I wasn't enchanted by the beauty of the special effects but by their meaning. It doesn't take a genius to understand it but it takes a graceful person to agree. To sum up, if the word grace has any meaning in your life then you will understand and love this movie, but if you are a closed person not willing to give yourself a new spark in life than this movie will be dull to you. God bless this movie and every one of you. Expand
  51. Feb 4, 2012
    8
    The Tree of Life joins an exclusive film genre, formed only by 2001 A Space Odyssey. It is difficult to put a name for this category, but a good approach would be philosophical movies. This picture debates about God existence and questions if He has been involved with life and its development in our planet around all ages.
    The plot is wrapped around a dysfunctional family, formed by an
    extremely strict father that wants to show to his fearful sons how to survive in the real world. All this is traduced in constant fights and conflicts. These problems produce in the mom a sort of need of asking to God why this is happening and why He will not help them (us).
    These questions surround the theme of the movie, the life in planet Earth in all its forms. The firsts cells appear, they transform into bacteria, plants and animals. The dinosaurs raise and extinction. The landscape and nature change. The mammals develop and appear human beings. And, Can we be sure that God takes part on it?
    At the end of the film all the people appear in a desert, as if they were looking for something. They think that they are looking for heaven, but there is nothing more than an empty land, because it has never existed something like a God or a Garden of Eden.
    The failures of this movie are that its excessively artistic, a shadow of Kubricks film and it leaves too much to interpretation. But the reflection that produces is remarkable.
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  52. Feb 4, 2012
    10
    This film intends to answer the question: "Why are we living in hell, while heaven is here?" The long waited sequel to 2001. Once the viewer understands the visual metaphors of water and the sun, the movie runs at lightening speed.
  53. Jan 30, 2012
    6
    I think I need to watch this a second time. I remember when The Thin Red Line came out and I watched it on opening night in the theater. And I fell asleep it was so boring. But then I went again and cried my eyes out the whole time for the beauty of it. Maybe I'll have the same experience with The Tree of Life. The first ten minutes of this movie were as good a ten minutes as you'll find in a movie. But then there's another two plus hours to go, and I just don't know if one viewing is adequate to explain what I've seen. My wife and I landed on a one-word description: strange. Expand
  54. Jan 29, 2012
    7
    More of an artisitic magnum opus, laden with symphonic fugues and transcendental phenomena, "The Tree of Life" is light-years away from one's conventional cinematic experience. Instead, it exudes an ever- changing amalgamation of family life (the "movie") and the outlying visual sequences of the galactic cosmos via solar and asterismal alignments, as well as the terrestrial realm, shown in the form of volcanoes, fire, water, grasslands, and pasture. During the medial stretch of the film (about an hour), the latter journey (the visual sequences) will mimic one's experience at a planetarium, or perhaps a viewing of an environmental documentary, minus a top-rate actor's narration; if watching it on television, one might have the strong urge to check the channel. However, during this period, one of the greatest displays of cinematography is displayed, bolstered by powerful orchestral accompaniment, albeit not too aiding in one's attention. Despite such patience that is required from the audience during this time, once the "movie" returns, it is nearly infalliable. The film accurately delineates a 1950's midwestern family, and viscerally captures the everyday, unplanned, mundane life of the time: rough-housing, pre-adolescent boys playing in the grass with their dogs, wrestling in the tall grass pastures, mothers watching intently, arms-crossed to the discretion of their children outside a window, fathers kissing their children and wives on the cheek, brief-case in hand, before a long day's work at the plant, and the aestival sun browning the faces and arms of all under its path. Furthermore, Mallick instills the sense of respect and discipline set forth in the traditional household, "yes, sir," "no, sir." This is brought to life by Pitt, who rivals with his passive, ethereal wife (Chastain) for the respect of his children. The boys respect their father, and it isn't until he is gone (traveling abroad) that they see why. They (the O'Brien boys), especially Jack, prey on the mother's vulneribility: "I can do what I want." Although Jack proves timid amidst his father, out of fear of punishment, we learn he actually respects him, "I'm more like you...than her." Mallick's film is particulary accurate of the time, and easier to relate to, as it has no "carved in stone" plot. The events take place loosely, unrestrained by direction. Instead, the viewer sees an unraveling of normal, real-world events during one summer. Moreover, Mallick also instills the sense of paranoia of the time, as the viewer sporadically hears the sound of whispers, primarily from Jack, who speaks out to the various themes of the film: spirituality, compassion, regret, fear, anger, sadness, and wonder---all elements of everyday life. Also making an appearance is Sean Penn, who plays a middle-aged Jack. Here, we see he is a successful businessman in an unknown field, more-than likely in Chicago, and still reminiscing about his childhood experiences and the loss of his brother. Although his dialogue in the film is sparce, the viewer gains a greater sense of the appreciation he had for his father's efforts to "build" him into a man. Also, Penn's character manifests himself as much more contemplative than his younger self. Just as young Jack is more whimsical (as kids are), his older character breathes a more solemn aura as he now knows what he had lost and is fearful of what is to come. The reemergence of more terrestrial and galactic visual sequences now makes more sense in the film latter-half, particularly with Penn, as it points to the eschatological apprehensions people often possess with increasing age. It's not until the end, that we see older Jack finally at peace with his life and where it stands. Overall, "The Tree of Life," is fervently poetic in substance; gravitas that is never taken lightly. It is a thought-provoking evocation that few will truly appreciate, some will seek to understand, and all will never forget; its gloriously euphoric, but it makes you work for its beauty: hang in there, it's worth it. Expand
  55. Jan 29, 2012
    8
    Although it is a bit too long and it lacks a dramatic story like promised, The Tree of Life does bring emotion, and offers Brad Pitt at his best along with Jessica Chastain bringing a wonderful performance. And the film is just beautifully shot and it has the best visual effects I have seen in a long time. I give this film 82%.â
  56. Jan 28, 2012
    5
    Like too many recent films it indulged itself too much and just went on far too long. It is undoubtedly beautifullly shot and I think I kind of liked what it was trying to say, but it's quite unengaging and with that it really drags. I enjoyed the first hour or so, but by the end the few of us still awake were fidgeting and asking if it would ever end. The beach scene at the end was mawkish and even the beautiful operatic score and natural scenes became tiresome. Expand
  57. Jan 27, 2012
    1
    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.
  58. Jan 26, 2012
    7
    the photographic effects in this film is really upto something
    plus mallick's bit unorthodox
    some religious senses are also there
    overall watchable.(7/10)
  59. Jan 26, 2012
    10
    Tree of Life was a movie that I found incredibly confusing on my first viewing. Throughout the film I kept on wondering if I liked what I was seeing or if I thought it was rubbish. For days afterwards, however, I found myself reflecting upon the film that I had seen. It stuck with me. It penetrated my heart and made me reflect upon my own journey through this messy life. I viewed the film a second time, and found that I absolutely loved it. I feel that it is the most visually stunning movie to have been produced in years. It's definitely better with a repeated viewing if you can bring yourself to watch it a second time. Expand
  60. Jan 25, 2012
    7
    While this film is beautifully crafted and shot, it misses the mark in telling a coherent story. If you are looking for a very artistic and visually strong film, this film may appeal to your tastes. As someone who likes being able to follow the plot of a story, I cannot say Tree of Life accomplishes that.
  61. Jan 25, 2012
    0
    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
  62. Jan 23, 2012
    7
    I suspect this film will forever be underrated and misunderstood. That would be unfortunate due to Pitt's excellent performance as a naturalistic, authoritarian yet loving father trying to raise his boys with his graceful wife. Many scenes are visually stunning, but the pacing of this film is hard to latch on to. If the film were 30 mins less in duration, the pace would seem more bearable. Though symbolistic overtones and undertones dominate the goal of this film, it is almost as if it can't make up it's mind......documentary or movie? Both portions are equally enthralling, but the juxtaposition of both is hard to digest.....which is why this film won't hit home for the masses as fast as other films do. Expand
  63. Jan 22, 2012
    3
    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.
  64. Jan 17, 2012
    9
    Honestly I don't know if five years from now I'll consider this the next 2001: A Space Odyssey (which compared to this movie is actually straightforward) or if I'll be wondering what the heck I was thinking falling for Malick's pretentiousness. But my feeling right now is that I was enlightened by watching this movie totally unlike anything I've see before. It's one of the most visually astounding films I've ever seen, well acted, and incomprehensible but not in a frustrating way, at least not me. Don't try to understand it all, just absorb it. Expand
  65. Jan 11, 2012
    2
    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.
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  66. Jan 10, 2012
    0
    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.
  67. Jan 9, 2012
    10
    This movie is reminiscent to those dreams where you start falling, but you never stop, only a lot more pleasant. The movie buds open like a flower longing for light, and even if it does so slowly, it does so perfectly as well. Malick approaches the concept of life with such grace, knowledge, and poise, that it causes you to question life yourself, more than you ever have. Acting here was great (just probably not award-worthy, except from Chastain), and it helped supplement the story. Most important to the picture, though, was the picture itself. This movie was shot beautifully and exceptionally, and scenes from the beginning of life were so eye-opening, that they made following this movie irresistible. Overall, this movie is a must-see, and should be up for many more film awards to come. Expand
  68. Jan 9, 2012
    1
    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...
  69. Jan 4, 2012
    5
    I can't criticise The Tree of Life on an aesthetic level - it's a breathtakingly beautiful piece of filmmaking. I can't criticise the performances either - Brad Pitt delivers his best performance in years playing a father of three who favours tough love, and newcomer Hunter McCracken is simply spellbinding as Jack, the eldest son (played by Sean Penn when grown up). I most certainly can't fault the script - Terrence Malick has succeeded in forging a completely believable, utterly compelling family dynamic. What I can criticise is an over-reliance on religious symbolism, pretentious themes, a jarring, overly melodramatic score and a nigh-on incomprehensible final act. When viewed on their own, the stunning sequences documenting the beginnings of life on earth might have worked, and the same goes for the gritty, dysfunctional family drama segments that form the core of the film. When blended together however, these vastly different filmmaking ideas are a little disorientating, and you may find yourself emotionally detached from the film as a consequence. I can't help but admire Malick's courage, and his ambition, and soome elements of The Tree of Life certainly hit the mark, but as a one consistent idea, I can't quite get behind it. Expand
  70. Jan 3, 2012
    3
    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.
  71. Dec 29, 2011
    7
    The Tree of Life is not for everyone, close or narrow mind may not enjoy the movie. It redefines the roots of film-making. The storytelling is almost entirely made of beautiful pictures and metaphysical narration, only a few dialogues are included. I feel that this is great because it allows the viewer to think while watching. Why would you want to think while watching a movie I bet you're asking yourself ? Well, the Tree of Life is more than a movie, it's a journey, a door on the existential questions of life. The viewer won't be able to stop himself on reflecting about these different questions. The movie is about love, and what are good and evil. Therefor, the "lack" of dialogues is a blessing for it allows the mind of the viewer to grow. The Tree of Life is an enriching experience by Terrence Malick. Expand
  72. Dec 29, 2011
    0
    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
  73. Dec 27, 2011
    1
    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
  74. Lyn
    Dec 26, 2011
    4
    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
  75. Dec 26, 2011
    4
    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
  76. Dec 21, 2011
    2
    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
  77. Dec 21, 2011
    8
    It's weird but I saw this and Melancholia within a couple of weeks each other. Both films seem to either engage audiences or send them racing for the exits.
    Tree Of Life, I thought, was a beautiful movie and kept me interested. Melancholia, was a tedious bore.
    At least I liked most of the characters in Tree Of Life but I felt the ending felt a bit short.
    Sad to see so many people down on
    this film when there is so much crap that people pay to go and see these days and they stay for the whole thing.
    People actually walked out of this movie?
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  78. Dec 19, 2011
    8
    The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick is brave and goes to the limit of the philosophical weights always pretentious and complex, through an intricate montage of images and sounds (yes, who knows what Godard wanted to do in terms of narrative language in Film Socialisme and failed miserably), we see the beginning and the end of life, from the the macro to the microcosm.

    The incredible
    sequence of 18 minutes following the creation of life in the universe from the Big Bang to the simplest cell in the earth is a catharsis. Uncommon in the todayâ Expand
  79. Dec 17, 2011
    4
    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.
  80. Dec 15, 2011
    8
    I can see why this movie is dividing a lot of audiences. It's the kind of film that takes its sweet time, and whenever it feels like it, it goes off on surreal tangents. But for me, there was so much to appreciate here. The biggest thing that I loved about this film was the detailed attention to its characters. Mallick takes sequentially scattered moments of a family, and uses them to flesh out the characters in a way that gets us to understand their entire world. I was also impressed with Brad Pitt as he gives the most truthful performance of his career. Those two elements kept me hooked in even when Mallick was off showing us clips of space and the motion of fluids. I know he had a purpose for those scenes as he spent three years editing this film, but I couldn't exactly figure it all out. Honestly, I don't think "Tree of Life" is a movie you can figure out. It's like a surreal painting. The beauty and nuance come from what you get out of it. It's like the movie offers you a "Choose Your Own Meaning" option. "The Tree of Life" was a refreshing experience. The characters are fascinating and the cinematography is breathtakingly gorgeous. If you're a fan of Mallick's work, or you enjoy head trips similar to a David Lynch movie or 2001: A Space Odyssey, do not miss seeing "The Tree of Life." It's a unique movie-going experience. Expand
  81. Dec 15, 2011
    2
    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
  82. Dec 12, 2011
    10
    As is the case with all substantial art, this film's acceptance deviates from the mean--evident by the number of 0/1s and 9/10s on this page. I came into this film with absolutely no expectations. I had not heard nor read one word about it. My dad (father!) left it at my house and I figured I would throw it in the DVD player one Sunday evening after reading the Netflix synopsis. Yes, I did see that it had Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in it, but that meant nothing to me, one way or the other.

    I'm afraid to say, for fear of sounding like any other cliche art critic, that what I saw was nothing short of astonishing. ToL is an existential masterpiece.

    I'm not sure how anyone can rate this move a 0 or 1 even if it was the most "boring" thing they ever had to sit through. It's as if they went into this movie with expectations that were not fulfilled and have therefore taken it personally. I can understand how this movie might not resonate with everyone, but does it really warrant a 0--as if to say it has no value whatsoever? It seems as if some of these reviews feel the need to overcompensate for reasons that have nothing to do film itself. I'm sorry if someone or some review duped you into this one and you didn't think it was worth your $10, but don't take it all out on the film. I'm pretty sure anyone can honestly find reason enough to give it at least a 3. It's not Troll 2 for crying out loud.
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  83. Dec 4, 2011
    0
    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.
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  84. DHE
    Dec 3, 2011
    1
    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
  85. Nov 29, 2011
    1
    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
  86. Nov 28, 2011
    9
    I don't know what to say. When I first saw this, I said "I can't really think of an opinion of this." Overall, I am giving it a 9 because it was a movie that definitely grabbed me, and i had fun afterwards trying to unravel it's mysterious. Overall, I think I have decided that overall it is an enjoyable movie. Definitely very complex.
  87. Nov 27, 2011
    5
    This movie was gorgeous. Though it felt, empty. It didn't get to me emotionally, it wasn't the masterpiece I expected it to be. I left the theater trying to find the message this movie was trying to send, trying to find the moral of the story. Something to love about it besides it's masterful visuals. Though I couldn't. Maybe I'm missing something. This is a film I think I should see again, though I don't want to because overall, it's running time was too much, which resulted in me wanting the film to end. That's never a good sign. Expand
  88. Nov 20, 2011
    9
    Ok, first things first. All of the "college graduates" and people the that use words like "daub" and hated the film are Republicans. You can graduate from college with a degree in Turf management. Need I say more? Glenn Beck has stated on numerous occasions that conservatives do not like movies with messages. Now to the film. One reviewer called it poetry in film or words to that effect and that description is perfect. I am not a person who watches Warhol films and calls them 'genius.' I will try anything. Hell, I liked Avatar AND Mulholland Drive. I couldn't stop watching this film. I had no idea what was going to be on the screen next. Very cool and the visuals and the soundtrack were hypnotic. It is certainly not for the average person or college graduate Republican but give it a go. It ain't Spiderman 53 but no one said it was. WOW! I'll give it a 9. Expand
  89. Nov 20, 2011
    3
    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
  90. Nov 19, 2011
    0
    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.
  91. j30
    Nov 13, 2011
    10
    This is a hard movie to recommend to anyone. It's a beautiful movie that transcends the category of being a movie. It's flat out a piece of art.
  92. Nov 10, 2011
    1
    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
  93. Oct 31, 2011
    10
    A completely unashamed reverence for beauty. Perhaps no movie has ever been so maddeningly ambiguous and yet somehow managed to provide an altogether meaningful experience. Maybe the film is shot entirely from Jack's perspective as he contemplates his life and its position in regard to all of existence. It is also conceivable that Malick is not so simply attempting to express his reverence for life through the eyes of an omnipotent being no one can fully grasp. The plot is labyrinthine. It begins in the present, rewinds to the beginning of time at unimaginable speed, and moves through time, slowing down for the genesis of the earth, then slowing down again for the small segment in the life of Jack, and then speeds up again toward the end of time in the reverse fashion. All of this culminates in a climax that could have you in tears at how unappreciative you have been of what you have. I thought about how I go through my day and how my mind processes my external environment, and I feel others will agree that, in an uncomplicated way, Malick has encapsulated the human perspective. Jack is not a computer processing bits of information bit by bit. He is a human being; one moment he is discussing his work with a co-worker who cannot seem to leave his private life at home, while in next moment he is remembering his brother along with the rest of his childhood. Every human, despite our attempts to focus for extended periods of time, is innately scatterbrained. There is a lot on Jack's mind, and it is impossible for him to go through a day without contemplating certain events and people, his brother, as well as himself, being the central focus. For once stream of consciousness is used in a way that does not cut corners. Information is not given directly to you. There are so few words and yet so much impact is felt and experienced from what you are seeing. Forget what you do not understand, because, after all, how much of an man's thoughts, let alone all existence, will you be able to fully comprehend. You know only what you can and need to know, and that is what makes Malick's film accessible, despite the lack of a coherent plot to some. In a world where my attention span seems to shrink daily, the film stopped me dead in my tracks. Malick's ambitious film may be the most grandiose and beautiful art film I have ever seen, but it left me feeling ashamed of my own insensitivity. I wanted to be a better person, if not for a god, or for myself, at least for all that exists, including those I care about. Expand
  94. Oct 26, 2011
    9
    If you seek a traditional motion picture experience, this film will leave you screaming for mercy.
    This film exists somewhere between a Bob Dylan hymn and portions of 'John From Cincinatti' without the humor.
    In fact, it is bereft of laughter but can engage a mystical smile from time to time.
    Whatever narrative exists delivers a message that erupts into mortal fears for those still
    paying attention after 90 minutes.
    If you have the curiosity and patience to explore evolved, spiritual ideals as formatted through the art of cinema, then you may have located Nirvana.
    This Tree is a flawed Oak that dares to incite, unite and disorient it's viewers.
    The Life that dreams inside this celluloid brilliance and darkness is a victorious disaster.
    And who doesn't enjoy a good disaster every now and then?
    My problem with the creation is that it takes many emotional hostages in the name of a spiritual quest. This style offers few answers to the most important questions it poses..
    Still, there is little doubt that Mallick has been blessed by a brand of genius that often eludes our zones of viewing security.
    But I'll be damned if he doesn't swing for the fences during the effort. If Terrance connects is totally your call. It's worth is beyond any critic's perceptions.
    That is how personal this journey is.
    From an acting vantage point, Brad Pitt does some remarkable things with the material given him.
    Sean Penn utters only a handfull of on screen words and given his public response to the film is lost as to why as the viewer might be.
    The only true star here is Mr. Mallick whose unseen face is written within every frame.
    'Tree Of Life' is 'Badlands without the active, murderous hearts. It takes us to a place we may or may not desire to be but are all a part of and subject to by virtue of birth.
    Expand
  95. Oct 24, 2011
    5
    Visually stunning. The music is annoying. The black screen used to segregate action is so bad it's more annoying than the music. The script is lacking. Brad Pitt is excellent. Sean Penn is wasted. Chastain is left to do a bad Falconetti impression. I actually shut this off after 90 minutes and then went back and started again hoping to find something redeeming. The scene with everyone walking along the beach finding each other was so contrived it just wreaked of self indulgence. Malik is a man of exceptional talent but this piece is more about his self indulgence than it is his ability to weave a story and paint and mesmerizing backdrop. The most interesting facets was that the film had an overall antiseptic feel about it. The only scene where there was a feeling of discord was the three boys in the deserted house. The DDT scene would only resonate if you had experienced the time when cities did that to eradicate the mosquito issue. Two hours of boredom. Expand
  96. Oct 23, 2011
    10
    I love it, very stunning movie, actors, amazingly cinematography, I dont know why so much negativity about this movie. I enjoyed this movie. Absolutely magnificent! One of the most visually pleasing aesthetic films
  97. Oct 17, 2011
    10
    Always amazed by the arrogance of "I didn't understand it, therefore no one could of understood it, so no one could have possibly liked it". Also, "people just pretend to enjoy it to act like they are smart". You know what? Any of you may very well be smarter than me. For instance, if you are a doctor, you are certainly more educated than I am. But I have been studying film for most of my 45 years. I admire Terrence Malick's audacity and I was knocked out by this movie. You didn't like or or understand it? Sorry for you. I did. And I applaud others who stayed focused and recognized its beauty and grace. And it's really not all that difficult to follow. Expand
  98. Oct 16, 2011
    10
    While the movie is truly a magnificent sight to behold it is definetly not a film for everyone. If you're a Terrance Mallick fan you know what to expect, long ponderous existential dialogue placed over majestically shot vistas. The movies oozes with real angst (non-off that Twilight nonsense). The acting is top notch. Pit Chastain and the kid who plays young Sean Penn do wonderful jobs emoting their characters. The score is incredible, one of the best of the year so far. The effects like the rest of the cinematography are incredible. CGI is kept to a minimum, and yet like the view is like neon candy for the eyes. This is the kind of film PT Anderson wishes he had the talent to make. Bottom line; if you like Mallick you will love this film. If you hate Mallick or like any of the Twillight films skip it. Expand
  99. Oct 16, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I rarely hand out a perfect 10 for such movies due to my harsh criticism on movies. However, master director Terrence Malick just earned one for his new movie "The Tree of Life". Simply, this film isn't just a masterpiece. The pure graphics (not with the aid of foolish CGI) and the luxurious use of cinematography as well as the slow, linear story may look equivalent to Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey", but the film transcends Kubrick's masterpiece and redefines it with the a more personal topic; human. It presents us life, despair, and hope. Remember when we had troubled times, where we fought with our parents and rebelled against them, when we despised our brothers and sisters for their prominent talents, and when we felt God has abandoned us and left you in the abyss of sin, not lending you the escape rope? Such questions are asked in the film and despair floods within the tone. Director Malick determines to find the solution, starting from the primeval ages of life. Through the entire time, hate and collisions are only to be seen. The characters become blind of their surroundings and cannot see each other's feelings. Everything is lost; a dead son with a failed father is only to be found. It was then that the child, who has now reached to a point of experienced maturity, learns forgiveness of his father, joyful love of his family, and the true motive of God, smiles. "The Tree of Life" at this point ends as, with slow but vibrant colors, ascending into 'the universal solution', softly whispering to us that true honesty, forgiveness, and love brings back us, and...Life. Expand
Metascore
85

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
    100
    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
    75
    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.