Fox Searchlight Pictures | Release Date: May 27, 2011
7.0
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Generally favorable reviews based on 615 Ratings
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80
Negative:
121
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8
CinemaphileJul 29, 2016
Austere. Elegiac. Operatic. Poignant. Nostalgic. Painful. Imperfect. Terrence Malick delivers a life thesis through the eyes of a boy struggling to make sense of it all. Excruciatingly beautiful, this film isn't for the impatient. TheAustere. Elegiac. Operatic. Poignant. Nostalgic. Painful. Imperfect. Terrence Malick delivers a life thesis through the eyes of a boy struggling to make sense of it all. Excruciatingly beautiful, this film isn't for the impatient. The cinematography is vivid and clear, the score is vibrant and varied, and the dialogue is rich and meaningful. The plot runs the gamut from macroscopic to microscopic, epic to mundane - all in non-linear fashion. This film is not for everyone, but everyone can find something in it according to his or her own tastes. Unfortunately, the combination of high art and pastoral drama keep The Tree of Life from attaining perfection. However, perhaps that is the point.

Worth watching, but be rested and in a contemplative mood. A top 10 film for you Netflix queue.
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7
SEROJJun 27, 2016
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is really philosophic, i would say even too philosophic! The cinematogrpahy was great, the soundtrack was genial and the acting was superb. The only problem is the way that this material was delivered to us! I understand that the director of the movie wanted to show us a movie about the human life. This movie is bassicaly the Old testament. First we had the creation of the world! Then we had the sins that we do (the ten commandments)! The ending scene was probably the paradise...or... i don't know! :D Too philosophic, i repeat Expand
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9
CalibMcBoltsMay 30, 2016
''The Tree of Life'' is Terrence Malick's magnum opus, one cannot speak of a Malick films without mentioning composition. Only a few living filmmakers pay as much attention to cinematography and music as Malick. The dialogue in The Tree of''The Tree of Life'' is Terrence Malick's magnum opus, one cannot speak of a Malick films without mentioning composition. Only a few living filmmakers pay as much attention to cinematography and music as Malick. The dialogue in The Tree of Life is scarce; composer Alexandre Desplat fills in the gaps in which we might normally expect talking. His music, like the images brought to the screen by the greatest cinematographer alive today, Emmanuel Lubezki, add color and depth to the emotions of the characters. They emphasize without being ostentatious.

Also, early in the proceedings, there is a 15-minute interlude that depicts the creation of Earth, the beginnings of life, the era of the dinosaurs, and the events presaging the rise of man. Many people dislike this part of the film, they say that it takes them out of the experience, and i fiercely disagree, i think this segment is The Tree of Life's most awe-inspiring, interesting, technically brilliant, and powerful scene in the whole movie. The location of this segment within the movie is also perfect. The movie starts of with Mr and Mrs. 'O Brien hearing the news that one of their 3 boys has died, we see grief and grace.
Then, as a viewer you wondered how that happened, you want to know why and how he died. Then the movie takes us back in time, to the beginning of the story, not a couple of days before he died, not a couple of years before he died, no the story takes us back to the beginning of time, and from there it guides us through the movie.
Absolutely phenomenal!

Ofcourse as many Malick movies are, they arent flawless, and as for ''The Tree of Life'' i have 3 minor problems with it.
-Malick's distaste for dialogue comes to stab him from behind again which results in long stares, and quite moments where you think something is going to be said, or should be said.
-The editing throughout this movie is very hacky, and in my honest opinion sloppily done, because the editing is pretty poor, and the lack of (some) dialogue, it results in awkward stares and things of that sort.
-The Sean Penn scenes offer little beyond an assurance that Jack grows up to be a man who's unsure of the meaning of life. They seem largely superfluous except as a way to provide Sean Penn with some screen time. The "modern day" Jack scenes are unremarkable except in that the photographic composition remains outstanding (there are a lot of low-angle shots which make the skyscrapers more imposing than they might otherwise be). Penn's version of the character is poorly developed; it's difficult to get beyond the actor. The danger in having a well-known thespian appear in this sort of part is that the performer never becomes buried in the character. As good an actor as Penn is, he is larger than life, and we find ourselves seeing "Sean Penn" not "Jack O'Brien." Contrast this with Brad Pitt, who has the time and opportunity to become submerged in his role.
This may seem like something very bad, but it's okay, there are only a couple of Sean Penn scenes so it's not like half of the movie is bad, it really isnt, maybe only like 15 minutes.

This might sound like a lot of cons but only a few pros but the flaws of the movie get diminished by the sheer brilliance of the rest of the movie, so there is nothing to worry about. I absolutely adore ''The Tree of Life'' and it is a very present contender for Best Movie of the decade. Go ahead and take away my credibility badge...The film is one of the most emotionally affecting and profound experiences of my life, regardless of how recent it is.
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10
SpangleJan 1, 2016
The Tree of Life is truly brilliant. Both visually stunning, thematically powerful, and emotionally moving, it really has everything. The storytelling can feel a bit distant and the plot both aimless and directionless, but it truly makesThe Tree of Life is truly brilliant. Both visually stunning, thematically powerful, and emotionally moving, it really has everything. The storytelling can feel a bit distant and the plot both aimless and directionless, but it truly makes sense for a film about the meaning of life. As with all Terrence Malick directed films, the acting is not prominent, but Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are both fantastic, as is Hunter McCracken. The film is one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen in many ways, both visually and thematically. A rubix cube type of film that can be broken down in many ways, it ultimately means different things to different people. For me, it ultimately symbolized our lack of control in life and how we must make amends with this in order to truly experience the best life has to offer us. Regardless, The Tree of Life is a phenomenal film that is brilliant in every facet. I cannot recommend it enough. Expand
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9
MattBrady99Jan 1, 2016
Life in a nutshell.

The Tree of Life is one of the most stunning, magnificently shot movies I've ever seen. The cinematography is something that you can't take your eyes away from, it's just that stunning. Emmanuel Lubezki is the master of
Life in a nutshell.

The Tree of Life is one of the most stunning, magnificently shot movies I've ever seen. The cinematography is something that you can't take your eyes away from, it's just that stunning. Emmanuel Lubezki is the master of cinematography, I mean he's right up there with Roger Deakins, Vittorio Storaro, and Robert Richardson. Terrence Malick direction in this movie was pure brilliant, even when sometimes it dose get a little pretentious with some of the imagery, but all that aside, this is a beautiful film that's not going to be for everyone.
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9
dollarsignAug 20, 2015
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The most strange, indelible film (so far released) in the 21st century.
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10
behzadhoseini77Jan 31, 2015
First of all, for those who have not yet read reviews, let me start by saying that this is not your "Brad Pitt/Sean Penn" labeled blockbuster.

Also, I would like to add that, if you really want to take in as much as possible (trust me
First of all, for those who have not yet read reviews, let me start by saying that this is not your "Brad Pitt/Sean Penn" labeled blockbuster.

Also, I would like to add that, if you really want to take in as much as possible (trust me there is a lot to take in), then you should go see this movie, relaxed, not tired, and in a receiving state of consciousness (I watched it last night at 2200hrs, after a very very long difficult day) and I am seriously considering re-watching it on a Saturday night...

It is practically impossible to summarize this film, in a few words, but what this film does to you, mostly I think, is take you back to your childhood days, and bring back, re-ignite all these long lost first moments/feelings/discoveries/guilts. Do you remember the first time you had a fight with your parents? What crossed your mind? what did you feel?.....apply this to all the first times and you might get something that feels like this film.

This film blends all the above with imaginary scenes from the creation of the cosmos, how all is connected, how did we get here? why? what did God really have to do with this? or is God in other words Love?

You have to see for yourself, and I believe each and every one of us will have his own different experience which is exactly what real Art is.

Bravo, to the Director, Producers and Cast
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9
rajketJan 13, 2015
Its not surprising that so many dislike this movie. Its one which provides those who dislike impressionistic and non-linear narrative movies (by default every movie has a narrative in the sense that shot follows shot and sequence followsIts not surprising that so many dislike this movie. Its one which provides those who dislike impressionistic and non-linear narrative movies (by default every movie has a narrative in the sense that shot follows shot and sequence follows sequence regardless of our comprehension of it?) with a chance for a grab at the most negative metaphors and similes for their viewing experiences. Its a relief for me to watch a beautiful movie like this after so much clumsy ugliness that purports to be populist entertainment. I can understand why some have compared it to Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey (a formative experience for me seeing that for the first time in 70mm and six track stereo at the age of 12) as it also seems like one of those wonderful movies that actually feels like its close to its Director's vision? All I know is that when my partner and I watched this a few days ago, projected on to our 60" wide screen in High Def with superb surround sound I found myself sobbing heavily with tears at several moments and frequently overwhelmed. I could be deluding myself (which is fine really as all movies offer varying states of delusion?) but this really did seem like a work of art. Its fine if people want to write adolescent carping words about it: the internet gives spoiled brats fed on junk plenty of opportunity to complain. For me this just took me out of myself like few others. It seems like a truly worthy Palme D'Or winner. Expand
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9
DanielXGOct 15, 2014
Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is an ambitious undertaking on the creation, the life, and the death of the universe. It is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, with one of the most beautiful soundtracks. The movie seems toTerrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is an ambitious undertaking on the creation, the life, and the death of the universe. It is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen, with one of the most beautiful soundtracks. The movie seems to develop around a family living in the 1950s Kansas, but it is more than that. It is the spirituality and the philosophy of all creation seen and expressed through the lives of these parents and their three boys.

At first, it would seem like this movie is creating a wall between you and the characters because you rarely see them interacting properly. But it is the other way around. This movie aims to connect the viewer to the forces of creation, the power of nature and spirituality, in general. In other words, it is not about the people, it is about the elements of the universe, most likely the "nature" and "grace" which are represented by the disciplinary father and the forgiving mother, respectively.

I am from Romania. So, in a way this movie reminds me of our national writer Mihai Eminescu's "Scrisoarea I" or "Letter No. I" which also represents the birth and death of the universe.

Despite this movie's beauty, it is not for everyone. It is a movie which must be savoured with patience and an open soul, or, if you want, a spiritual soul. The catalyst for this movie's amazing creation scene, is the death of the son, which causes the time to go back before there even was time, all the way to the creation of the universe which starts on a galactic scale, then goes to a microscopic scale, and eventually it turns its attention to Earth, all presented with masterful cinematography and soundtrack.

The end of the universe is seen as a desolate beach, where silence rules and everyone is meeting their loved ones, in what it seems an eternal walk in silence, but also happiness. This is the ending of the movie, a movie which is extremely abstract and, sometimes, unclear.

Nonetheless, this should be viewed by anyone who considers him/herself a cinefile as its an example of artistry through writing, cinematography and music.
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8
beingryanjudeSep 1, 2014
The Tree of Life may not appeal to everyone; however, this film is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful ever made. The film is visual as well as literarily brilliant.
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10
Pazzo7Aug 23, 2014
The Tree of Life is one of the most beautiful and one of the best movies ever.Its something new,refreshing and so poetic you want to yelp with glee.Its clearly not for the average viewer because it requires patience and because itsThe Tree of Life is one of the most beautiful and one of the best movies ever.Its something new,refreshing and so poetic you want to yelp with glee.Its clearly not for the average viewer because it requires patience and because its thought-provoking.Its just so unique (even though a ot of people compare this to 2001:A Space Odyssey).Its haunting me ever since I've watched it the first time.Especially the Creation part with Zbigniew Preisner's-Lacrimosa in the background is one of the most charming moments in the movie history.Terrence Malick takes some time to make a movie but if a movie is this special and elegant then I am gonna wait patiently. Expand
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7
HighPriestesaMay 18, 2014
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.
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10
ugisupriatnaApr 24, 2014
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 visualA 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
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10
MovieGuysApr 23, 2014
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 experimentalWell, 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
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10
caviiblancOct 15, 2013
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 commonThe 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. Expand
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8
aaronobrienJul 22, 2013
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 isThe 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
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8
MBond1810Apr 11, 2013
Oneiric and profound. Absolutely the greatest movie of the year.
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10
cam_rasMar 25, 2013
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,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. Expand
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7
moonman1994Jan 28, 2013
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 withThe 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
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10
worleyjamersDec 6, 2012
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 poeticWhat 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. Expand
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10
ValMuffleyNov 26, 2012
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.
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9
MichaelDNOct 21, 2012
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 theThis 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
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10
KarryptoSep 7, 2012
"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"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
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9
jim109109Jun 17, 2012
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 andThis 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. Collapse
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10
pkgadersonsJun 10, 2012
AwesomeAwesome . Expand
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8
Critic2012May 12, 2012
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,
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10
cabritaApr 27, 2012
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 forA 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
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9
vernApr 25, 2012
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 mindThe 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
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10
Parera_Starr11Apr 24, 2012
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.
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10
Brian_McInnisApr 14, 2012
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 andSo 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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