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6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 525 Ratings

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  1. Oct 15, 2014
    9
    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 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 andTerrence 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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  2. Aug 23, 2014
    10
    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 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 firstThe 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
  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,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 almostWell, 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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, toThis 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
  10. 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"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
  11. 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'sThis 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
  12. 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,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
  13. 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 willThe 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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 itsSo 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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  16. 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.
  17. Feb 17, 2012
    10
    This movie is life. There is nothing else I can say: this movie is amazing.
  18. 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
  19. 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 willTerrence 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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 filmTree 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
  22. 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 visuallyHonestly 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
  23. 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 wasThis 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
  24. 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, IAs 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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  25. 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.
  26. 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 thatOk, 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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 reverenceA 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
  29. 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
    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.
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  30. 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
  31. 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 myAlways 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
  32. 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 jobsWhile 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
  33. 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
  34. Oct 15, 2011
    9
    Way back in 1990, David Foster Wallace talked about how the post-post modern novelist might actually have to embrace sincerity, serious concern with ideas that he/she actually believed in, rather than embracing the universal, self-superior snark that he already saw invading TV (cf., for this reviewer, "Family Guy"). Haters of this movie confirm his view of the cultural drift toward scornWay back in 1990, David Foster Wallace talked about how the post-post modern novelist might actually have to embrace sincerity, serious concern with ideas that he/she actually believed in, rather than embracing the universal, self-superior snark that he already saw invading TV (cf., for this reviewer, "Family Guy"). Haters of this movie confirm his view of the cultural drift toward scorn (Colbert's scent... nyuk, nyuk!) as the predominant value on the InterWeb. Look, either Malick reaches you on the wavelength you live on, or he doesn't. I found the film to be an experience unlike any film in recent memory (though a grad-school viewing of "The Seventh Seal" c. 1990 comes to mind), and if it seems rote or (Chrissakes!) "boring" or (oooh, how uncool!) "pretentious," why aren't you mentioning some other film that you think even begins to address existential questions about life released in the last ten years? (You people probably hate the band Low, too.) Stunning, emotionally gripping, like nothing else out there. Expand
  35. Oct 12, 2011
    10
    I heard the words pretentious a lot from people that even gave this movie 100/100, and I don't think people understands what that word means anymore. I think cynical people just use it to describe anything artistic. I think cool/nerdy has taken over as what people think of when they think of artistic and pretentious is what people who want to look like they don't give a f*ck call art. EvenI heard the words pretentious a lot from people that even gave this movie 100/100, and I don't think people understands what that word means anymore. I think cynical people just use it to describe anything artistic. I think cool/nerdy has taken over as what people think of when they think of artistic and pretentious is what people who want to look like they don't give a f*ck call art. Even giving every benefit of the doubt to people that use this word, I honestly didn't see anything pretentious in this movie. He was trying to show how beautiful nature is when he used a powerful score. He painted a very realistic portrait of a family in sixties (his family?) texas. And took a different approach to it, using his own fractured memories as the narrative. I think this made total sense and an interesting way to tell a story. (Not to mention, I don't like real pretentious things either and this movie made me tear up in certain scenes because of the realism and the way it reminded me of my own memories) In what way was he pretending to be something he wasn't(pretentious)? Open a dictionary before you use words. And I don't want to pass judgement, but it's sad that when filmmakers try to do new and different things (Stanley Kubrik - 2001) they're always met with so many people who want to tell them how bad it was before those people even understand what's happening. Expand
  36. Oct 1, 2011
    10
    Great inmersive film, a 21 century masterpiece. Terrence Malickâ
  37. Sep 26, 2011
    10
    A brilliant, brilliant film. It's a modern masterpiece that, yes, requires real work on the part of the audience. If you don't "get" the Judeo-Christian religious allusions and texts that make the questions in this film, it will remain incomprehensible, I suppose. The quote from the Book of Job at the beginning of the film (not to mention the sermon in the middle of the film) is a deadA brilliant, brilliant film. It's a modern masterpiece that, yes, requires real work on the part of the audience. If you don't "get" the Judeo-Christian religious allusions and texts that make the questions in this film, it will remain incomprehensible, I suppose. The quote from the Book of Job at the beginning of the film (not to mention the sermon in the middle of the film) is a dead tip-off you need to bring some background to this, ideally.... Apart from the depth of meaning in the film however, it's also wonderfully executed: the acting is right on the money, and the cinematography breathtaking... just about every shot is perfect. See it in a good theatre too: you need to hear the whispered questions and recollections that form the narrative framework for it to make sense at all :) Expand
  38. Sep 23, 2011
    10
    This is absolutely not a film for everyone. It's the most "love it or hate it" film I think I've ever seen (for example, half of my theater walked out). For me, this was a brilliant, poetic film about life and our place in it. The acting is stellar and the visuals are gorgeous beyond words. I can't recommend this, because there's absolutely no way to tell if a person will like it or not,This is absolutely not a film for everyone. It's the most "love it or hate it" film I think I've ever seen (for example, half of my theater walked out). For me, this was a brilliant, poetic film about life and our place in it. The acting is stellar and the visuals are gorgeous beyond words. I can't recommend this, because there's absolutely no way to tell if a person will like it or not, but, for me, this is one of the best films I've seen all year. Expand
  39. Sep 23, 2011
    10
    Pure excellence. If you're a true movie fan, you'll instantly be engaged by the sheer beauty, the divergence (from ordinary films) of this movie. This is a movie you'll either hate or love. If you haven't watched it yet, I'd recommend not watching this movie in a cinema. You'll probably encounter "unappreciative" people who will walk out because of they can't comprehend the calm intensityPure excellence. If you're a true movie fan, you'll instantly be engaged by the sheer beauty, the divergence (from ordinary films) of this movie. This is a movie you'll either hate or love. If you haven't watched it yet, I'd recommend not watching this movie in a cinema. You'll probably encounter "unappreciative" people who will walk out because of they can't comprehend the calm intensity engineered in this movie. This will probably distract you and ruin the whole movie experience for the appreciative. Best wait for the blu-ray. I loved this movie. It will touch somewhere deep, deep inside you if you let it. Many will complain about the vagueness and ambiguity, but I derive excellence from it. To let the viewer make their own interpretation is, in my opinion, very mature directing and puts Terrence Malick among some of the most thoughtful and skilled directors. Mind-blowing visuals and superb acting surely make this, without a single doubt, one of the best movies of the year. Expand
  40. Sep 18, 2011
    9
    Your enjoyment or not of this movie will depend on your experiences so far through life. I found it incredibly moving, and it confirmed many of my morals and guidelines for life. While being an atheist I accept that religion is important to some people,so this element in the story was acceptable. The emotions portrayed were so much stronger for the lack of the usual flood inaneYour enjoyment or not of this movie will depend on your experiences so far through life. I found it incredibly moving, and it confirmed many of my morals and guidelines for life. While being an atheist I accept that religion is important to some people,so this element in the story was acceptable. The emotions portrayed were so much stronger for the lack of the usual flood inane ,stereotypical dialogue we often get.. My advice is ,if you can spare two hours in your precious life ,take the risk of being moved ,inspired and even entertained my this gem. Expand
  41. Sep 7, 2011
    9
    Hey look at me! I'm not giving this one a perfect score either... So, yes, this film took me completely by surprise! The visuals are superb, the soundtrack is outstanding, and overall, an over the top direction by Malick! The one and only problem I deduced, would have to be the editing. That's it! Some might think that the running time was pushing their limits. For me, not at all. FromHey look at me! I'm not giving this one a perfect score either... So, yes, this film took me completely by surprise! The visuals are superb, the soundtrack is outstanding, and overall, an over the top direction by Malick! The one and only problem I deduced, would have to be the editing. That's it! Some might think that the running time was pushing their limits. For me, not at all. From start to finish, this film is pure gold. Expand
  42. Sep 4, 2011
    10
    What can be said about Terrence Malickâ
  43. Sep 4, 2011
    10
    I'm happy to call this Terrence Malick's Magnum opus. The Tree of Life is a thought provoking and symbolic art film; it may even leave one questioning how significant their actions are in the big scheme of things. Malick's audacious direction paid off, making this not only a challenging piece of work, but also a wonderful viewing experience, from start to finish. Its arrestingI'm happy to call this Terrence Malick's Magnum opus. The Tree of Life is a thought provoking and symbolic art film; it may even leave one questioning how significant their actions are in the big scheme of things. Malick's audacious direction paid off, making this not only a challenging piece of work, but also a wonderful viewing experience, from start to finish. Its arresting cinematography and visual effects are abstractly stitched together by master film editors; and its heavenly soundtrack keeps things flowing. Desplat's score was unfortunately demised by its under-use, in the actual film. The most effective and memorable pieces of music came, courtesy of, classical composers from way back. Also, this may possibly be Pitts career best performance, and Chastain illuminates as his submissive wife. I won't jump on the band-wagon and call this the best movie of the year just yet... and its surely not pretentious (as its detractors state); I do believe it will resonate for years to come (as its polar reviews also suggest). I'm looking forward to see how this does next awards season... Expand
  44. Aug 31, 2011
    9
    One of the best movies of this year for sure, the story was amazing, the way that Terrence Malick explain the whole movie through out pictures of life and nature, it was just delightful. Jessica Chastain really step up, I hope that she gets nominated for an Oscar, and for the Cinematography, because those photographs oh my lord, that's what I'm talking about. " Unless you love, your lifeOne of the best movies of this year for sure, the story was amazing, the way that Terrence Malick explain the whole movie through out pictures of life and nature, it was just delightful. Jessica Chastain really step up, I hope that she gets nominated for an Oscar, and for the Cinematography, because those photographs oh my lord, that's what I'm talking about. " Unless you love, your life will flash by ". Expand
  45. Aug 27, 2011
    10
    Malick is to be applauded for attempting to get out of the Hollywood box. There are various reasons he didn't make it on this attempt. Art has to have constraints or it just comes across as arbitrary or self-indulgent. Malick has learnt from the film greats (Kubrick, Weir, Beresford et al) that music and image work well in cinema. But that 's only part of the picture. The vision hasMalick is to be applauded for attempting to get out of the Hollywood box. There are various reasons he didn't make it on this attempt. Art has to have constraints or it just comes across as arbitrary or self-indulgent. Malick has learnt from the film greats (Kubrick, Weir, Beresford et al) that music and image work well in cinema. But that 's only part of the picture. The vision has to be coherent, and seen to be so. If not, where's the achievement? What was the p;oint of making art in the first place? If Malick's view of his work is 'here it is; take it or leave it', he'll be left holding his own baby. A little less showing-off and a bit more expertise in the art of film would go down well, Terry. Oh, and give us credit for knowing a little about the mystery of life, so we don't have to submit to banalities like those in The Tree Of Life. Expand
  46. Aug 23, 2011
    10
    Tree of Life is not for your entertainment. Tree of Life is for non mainstream - patient audiences. Filled with religious and deep-meaning life message , visual treat, touching performance and powerful score make The Tree of Life undeniably Terrence Malick's masterpiece.
  47. Aug 19, 2011
    10
    My favorite movie of the year. It was totally different than I expected it would be but I left it being very spiritually and emotionally touched. The cinematography and amazing visuals (not using CGI) are amazing! Beware though it is not for everyone it doesn't have much of a story per se but rather attempts to encapsulate existence in its entirety. If that sounds appealing to you please see it!
  48. Aug 12, 2011
    10
    Terrence Malick does it again! This film is a visually gorgeous meditation on the meaning of life, love, grace, pain and suffering. It touched upon themes that many of us have been grappling with in our own lives in a manner that was sensitive, sweet and gut-wrenching, all at once. The visual special effects were outstanding, and the more narrative scenes with actors included numerousTerrence Malick does it again! This film is a visually gorgeous meditation on the meaning of life, love, grace, pain and suffering. It touched upon themes that many of us have been grappling with in our own lives in a manner that was sensitive, sweet and gut-wrenching, all at once. The visual special effects were outstanding, and the more narrative scenes with actors included numerous beautifully and acutely observed moments. I loved the Thin Red Line and The New World, and this film is every bit their equal. Kudos to the wise folk at Cannes who awarded this film the Palme d'Or. Expand
  49. Aug 9, 2011
    9
    This movie is definitely challenging and one of a kind. It's becoming some kind of cool being pissy about it, saying it's boring and pointless. I cannot say I got every point but that doesn't really piss me. I made my own interpretations, connected the pieces in my own way and this was what it was about. Totally different concept, totally refreshing experience. Sure you shouldn't give it aThis movie is definitely challenging and one of a kind. It's becoming some kind of cool being pissy about it, saying it's boring and pointless. I cannot say I got every point but that doesn't really piss me. I made my own interpretations, connected the pieces in my own way and this was what it was about. Totally different concept, totally refreshing experience. Sure you shouldn't give it a try if you're impatient or stressed. You have to dive in deep. This is a spiritual experience, not a mindtrap puzzle like Inception and stuff. Expand
  50. Aug 9, 2011
    9
    I think Terrence Mallick fulfils his career ambition through this movie. A man struggling between the origin of earth and meaning of its existence, these types of tough scripts are analyzed only by a few directors. These movies are called as MASTERPIECE.
  51. Jul 26, 2011
    10
    Stunning. Mesmerizing. Powerful. Reflective. Gorgeous.Haunting. The most spiritual experience I've ever encountered in a movie theater and certainly the most innovative film since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many (if not most) will be bored to tears, whereas I was glued to the screen and am now in awe of the film's incredibly lingering impact. A shoo-in for Best Cinematography, and likely OscarStunning. Mesmerizing. Powerful. Reflective. Gorgeous.Haunting. The most spiritual experience I've ever encountered in a movie theater and certainly the most innovative film since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many (if not most) will be bored to tears, whereas I was glued to the screen and am now in awe of the film's incredibly lingering impact. A shoo-in for Best Cinematography, and likely Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, and Editing as well. This film is the very definition of film as art. Grade = A. Expand
  52. Jul 15, 2011
    9
    The film is a religious avant-garde film trapped inside a narrative story line about a boy who learns the reality of life and faith. Sound confusing? Well it is but that is it's only flaw. Itâ
  53. Jul 11, 2011
    9
    First off, I've never seen so many people walk out of a theater during a film, and that's saying a lot. I've seen some real **** So it's safe to say that this movie isn't quite for everybody. I've seen numerous publications try to put this thing in a box by giving it the "movie" meets "movie" comparison. The best is probably "Stand By Me" meets "2001: A Space Odyssey". If you're interestedFirst off, I've never seen so many people walk out of a theater during a film, and that's saying a lot. I've seen some real **** So it's safe to say that this movie isn't quite for everybody. I've seen numerous publications try to put this thing in a box by giving it the "movie" meets "movie" comparison. The best is probably "Stand By Me" meets "2001: A Space Odyssey". If you're interested in seeing this, get rid of all expectations because there simply isn't anything quite like it. Powerful film that tries to place humanity in this existence. The performances are wonderful, and Terrence Malick does exactly whatever divine being made him to do: Show you true beauty. Or, he just did it himself. Expand
  54. Jul 11, 2011
    10
    If you know anything about Terrence Malick's previous four films, and enjoyed any of them, then I would expect you to enjoy this film very much. To those who know nothing of Malick's work, I recommend diving right in. You may hate it, but you also may get caught up in his spell. Is it pretentious? HELL YES. Is it absolutely beautiful cinema that contains images the likes of which haveIf you know anything about Terrence Malick's previous four films, and enjoyed any of them, then I would expect you to enjoy this film very much. To those who know nothing of Malick's work, I recommend diving right in. You may hate it, but you also may get caught up in his spell. Is it pretentious? HELL YES. Is it absolutely beautiful cinema that contains images the likes of which have never been portrayed on screen? HELL YES. This film is more an abstract artistic experience than a movie. This is the type of film making I personally love and relish when it comes along, maybe once a year or so. If you consider most art too "artsy", then this is definitely not for you. The only film I can possibly compare this to is 2001: a space odyssey. If that is your type of film, then sit back, and enjoy the ride. Expand
  55. Jul 10, 2011
    10
    I perfectly understand why some dislike the movie--it's certainly not for everyone--but for those it works for, including me, I think it's a remarkable achievement. There's not many movies this day that are ambitious as this and succeed as poignantly.
  56. JMc
    Jul 10, 2011
    10
    Days after seeing it, I am still haunted by "The Tree Of Life". It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Watching it I saw my whole childhood pass before my eyes, and all the basic questions I have ever asked put before me. I knew the film would be long and "challenging" but I was not prepared how much of an impact it would have on me, even though I have seen all Malick's other films. (IDays after seeing it, I am still haunted by "The Tree Of Life". It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Watching it I saw my whole childhood pass before my eyes, and all the basic questions I have ever asked put before me. I knew the film would be long and "challenging" but I was not prepared how much of an impact it would have on me, even though I have seen all Malick's other films. (I watched The Thin Red Line last weekend - devastating.)
    I grew up in rural Australia (not Texas), with two younger brothers and two parents who loved us. We spent all our boyhood just mucking around like the kids in the film do. There were no computers. We went to church every Sunday. I don't believe in God anymore but I do always have the " Why am I here, where are we going, what happens next" thing happening in my head. I thought the film was beautiful and meaningful. Certainly strange and puzzling at times, maddening even, but isn't that life? Be brave and go and see it.
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  57. Jul 8, 2011
    10
    I watched the film. I waited a week. I decided it was the best use of film I have seen in a while. Poetic thematically and visually. What I find interesting is the controversy over whether this movie is good or bad. People have asked for money back, taken lengthy amounts of time to tear down the film or praise the film. The TOL echos the premier of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring butI watched the film. I waited a week. I decided it was the best use of film I have seen in a while. Poetic thematically and visually. What I find interesting is the controversy over whether this movie is good or bad. People have asked for money back, taken lengthy amounts of time to tear down the film or praise the film. The TOL echos the premier of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring but now people are shouting in cyberspace slinging accusations of intellectualism...elitism. During the film and just shortly after, i was on the fence about the quality of the work. It was after mediation of the words and the frames that I came to be moved over and over again. My response was emotional, visceral, not intellectual. I don't think most people go to the movies to be thoughtful or changed. Art is demanding; it requires the viewer to be uncomfortable, to be unsafe and to consider unknown possibilities. I am pleased to see people attempting dialogue about what makes a film good or bad. This reinforces my feeling that this film is in fact a artistic and spiritual masterpiece of the 21st century. Just as Jackson Pollock stretched the definition of painting and broke away from previous conventions, Malick is challenging the mainstream notion which defines film and more importantly, he offers a comfort to our suffering. Expand
  58. Jul 6, 2011
    10
    When the film ended I was sure of two things:
    1) I was slightly confused about how I felt.
    2) I had spent the last 20 minutes holding back tears. Its sparseness probably makes it confusing and boring for many but if you have any care for film as an art you will surely be left in awe. More than any other film I have seen in theaters The Tree of Life melts the border between screen and
    When the film ended I was sure of two things:
    1) I was slightly confused about how I felt.
    2) I had spent the last 20 minutes holding back tears.

    Its sparseness probably makes it confusing and boring for many but if you have any care for film as an art you will surely be left in awe. More than any other film I have seen in theaters The Tree of Life melts the border between screen and theater and creates one of the most emotional environments ever produced in a movie theater. The Tree of Life is the most overwhelming and pure meditation on human nature film has ever created and for anyone who is sometimes finds themselves confused or questioning just that, please see it.

    This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films of all time.
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  59. Jul 4, 2011
    10
    What a powerhouse of visual effects to open up the mind to creation. The story and acting are just a vehicle to show that family life has progressed to the point where we, as humans, are shown as hard, competitive and brutal. But love and caring can still bring some attachments worth having....Malick's message is that no matter what happens on earth, God or nature has created this life onWhat a powerhouse of visual effects to open up the mind to creation. The story and acting are just a vehicle to show that family life has progressed to the point where we, as humans, are shown as hard, competitive and brutal. But love and caring can still bring some attachments worth having....Malick's message is that no matter what happens on earth, God or nature has created this life on Earth without any scientific proof. So, he takes this further by saying there's another world that was also created. He calls it heaven. It's all love there. Expand
  60. Jul 4, 2011
    9
    Terrance Malick always seems to excite my eyes with his stunning cinematography. Nothing feels stock about his films. I am glad to see a creative and meticulous artist exploring film, in all its potentials and possibilities, it is a wonderful thing. I was overwhelmed and blindsided by this experience and a more compassionate individual emerged, which lasted at least until I got home 30Terrance Malick always seems to excite my eyes with his stunning cinematography. Nothing feels stock about his films. I am glad to see a creative and meticulous artist exploring film, in all its potentials and possibilities, it is a wonderful thing. I was overwhelmed and blindsided by this experience and a more compassionate individual emerged, which lasted at least until I got home 30 minutes later. Expand
  61. Jul 2, 2011
    10
    Terrance Malick has done it. The Tree of Life is a masterpiece to say the least. Although, it is not for everyone, this movie is only for those who enjoy thinking. Not saying you are stupid if you don't like this movie, but it requires your full attention. I have seen the movie twice now and the first time I watched it, i was a little unsure, but let me tell you, when I finished it aTerrance Malick has done it. The Tree of Life is a masterpiece to say the least. Although, it is not for everyone, this movie is only for those who enjoy thinking. Not saying you are stupid if you don't like this movie, but it requires your full attention. I have seen the movie twice now and the first time I watched it, i was a little unsure, but let me tell you, when I finished it a second time, I was 100% that is was the greatest movie that I had ever seen. Every shot and every piece of dialogue had a deeper meaning or double meaning. If you enjoy pandering and devouring films, The Tree of Life is the movie for you, and the people that say this movie is despicable and worthless, I doubt i'll be seeing you on that beach. -Respectfully submitted- Expand
  62. Jul 1, 2011
    10
    People tend to love or hate Terrence Malick movies. Typically the reasons people dislike his movies boil down to not really wanting to see one to begin with. Movies follow a pretty tried and true narrative structure, Malick does A LOT of mucking around with that formula. The best way I can describe it is it's like watching a book, not a movie; with all a books intransigent internalPeople tend to love or hate Terrence Malick movies. Typically the reasons people dislike his movies boil down to not really wanting to see one to begin with. Movies follow a pretty tried and true narrative structure, Malick does A LOT of mucking around with that formula. The best way I can describe it is it's like watching a book, not a movie; with all a books intransigent internal monologues and descriptions of environments - things which are typically cut down or removed entirely from a movie or simply conveyed in entirely different methods. Between TV shows and movies, we consume a vast amount of the standard structure of movies in any given day, week, month, or life - so you get into a rut of thinking this is the way it's done, because that standardization allows you to quickly consume whatever information is being conveyed in the entertainment you're indulging in. If you're looking for standard fare, you will be greatly disappointed by Malick, find his work boring, disjointed, and/or confusing. It's not that it's necessarily a BETTER form of audio/visual story-telling, it's not that by not getting it, you're somehow an idiot or uncultured, you probably just weren't really in the mood for experimentation is all. That said, once you invest the time to "get" his work, it's immensely gratifying and profoundly moving on a deeply personal level. I personally never watch his films with someone else, it would distract me from my preferred method of digesting the thoughts behind his art. That said... I just got back from watching The Tree of Life and can promise you, if you like his work, you will not be disappointed in the least. It was... a beautiful, wondrous, stunning, awe-inspiring, and moving meditation on the nature of existence. Expand
  63. Jun 30, 2011
    10
    Visceral. Wondrous. Beautiful. Maddening. It speaks to the inner depths in each of us. Terrence Malick is an artist, and a rare one at that. The best film I have seen in years.
  64. Jun 27, 2011
    10
    Truly an amazing cinematic experience unlike any movie before it. The movie is more like a poem than a narrative. The movie captures moments similar to our human memories. When we think back on our own life's it usually comes with quick impressions and flashes of moments rather then a cohesive story. This is a bran new type of storytelling, congrats to Malick for doing something soTruly an amazing cinematic experience unlike any movie before it. The movie is more like a poem than a narrative. The movie captures moments similar to our human memories. When we think back on our own life's it usually comes with quick impressions and flashes of moments rather then a cohesive story. This is a bran new type of storytelling, congrats to Malick for doing something so obviously human. Expand
  65. Jun 26, 2011
    10
    Please, readers, don't listen to anyone who says this film is pretentious. It's challenging, but challenging an audience to think does not imply that a director is flaunting his intelligence. Perhaps those who call it pretentious are doing so as a defense mechanism because they feel they can't understand what the movie is doing. I don't claim to understand everything that it's doing afterPlease, readers, don't listen to anyone who says this film is pretentious. It's challenging, but challenging an audience to think does not imply that a director is flaunting his intelligence. Perhaps those who call it pretentious are doing so as a defense mechanism because they feel they can't understand what the movie is doing. I don't claim to understand everything that it's doing after having only seen it once, but that's quite all right, because I am thoroughly convinced that every shot, every single line of dialogue, every sound has been meticulously and brilliantly placed, and I'm sure that with more viewings the film will further open itself up to me.

    The Tree of Life is a masterpiece, but the highly abstract and fragmented style of the film is uncommon in even arthouse films these days, and it's therefore clearly unwelcome. In any case, I implore you to see it, if only to remind yourself what film language is capable of.
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  66. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Oh god, what am I doing here? This movie opened slowly at select theaters and we were eventually able to see it. Much of what you will see on the screen is like itunes screensavers with classical music and whispering instead of your tunes. There are two sad dinosaurs, one who crawled out on land too late to avoid being ripped open by hammerhead sharks and another that lays in a river and gets their head stepped on a couple of times by a Barneysaur with a big head and little arms.. Most of the men in this movie are either yelling, violent or deformed and the women are all like angels. The young Sean Penn character sneaks into the neighbor girl's house and apparently gets something nasty on her nightie because he tries to hide it and then throws it in the river. His mom looks mad when he comes home but they don't talk. His father (Brad Pitt) wants him to pick weeds and punch Dad in the face. Brad works in a factory but also travels around the world to sell his inventions and all he brings the kids are some towels he stole from a Chinese hotel. People whisper stuff like "oh god, what am I doing here?" and walk around on a beach in their clothes meeting the characters that played them as kids. If you think this makes no sense, try watching over two hours of it. This movie totally sucked and will be a flop commercially. Don't waste your time or money. Expand
  67. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    Due to this movie, I lost 2 hours of my life that I cannot replace. I consider myself to be perceptive, curious and smart however this movie did not spark any of those traits. Several people in the theater left after about 20 minutes. Those that remained often groaned as they shifted in their seats. When it was finally over we chatted with many people - all of whom said "what the hellDue to this movie, I lost 2 hours of my life that I cannot replace. I consider myself to be perceptive, curious and smart however this movie did not spark any of those traits. Several people in the theater left after about 20 minutes. Those that remained often groaned as they shifted in their seats. When it was finally over we chatted with many people - all of whom said "what the hell was that???".
    I can honestly say that it was probably the worst movie I have ever seen.
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  68. Jun 19, 2011
    10
    Holy crap. I don't know what I just saw, but I want my time and money back. I read the review by "brewster" and ditto everything said in their review. I burst out laughing a few times (uncontrollably, I might add) , but at least managed to muffle it.
  69. Jun 18, 2011
    10
    TREE OF LIFE is nothing short of a new film language. Granted, there are predecessors; and Malick's work has been developing towards this film style. But the lyricism of this emotionally driven film editing and deeply personal interior landscapes is landmark. Behold, a new cinema... Finally.
  70. Jun 18, 2011
    10
    I'm not the smartest movie goer in the world but I want a film to remove me from the moment, to provoke me, tittilate me, amuse me but absolutely not bore me. To this movie i say "so what". It's a 135 minute boring grind and all the giant positive reviews of the "legendary" Terrence Malick's new movie make me want to shout "by golly, the emperor's not wearing any clothes so why are allI'm not the smartest movie goer in the world but I want a film to remove me from the moment, to provoke me, tittilate me, amuse me but absolutely not bore me. To this movie i say "so what". It's a 135 minute boring grind and all the giant positive reviews of the "legendary" Terrence Malick's new movie make me want to shout "by golly, the emperor's not wearing any clothes so why are all these sycophants singing his praises ?" BFD I say. You can miss this one. I wouldn't even rent the dvd. Wait till you can get it for free at your library. Rating - negative 4 stars. Expand
  71. Jun 17, 2011
    9
    You dont have to be 'educated' to enjoy this film - a term I use lightly as it felt more like an art fixture - you need to be in touch with the philosophical approach to thought. And that is not meant to sound pretentious, though those that dont think on that level might believe it to be so. You're either an etheral person or you're not - no judgement. The Tree of Life itself is cinematicYou dont have to be 'educated' to enjoy this film - a term I use lightly as it felt more like an art fixture - you need to be in touch with the philosophical approach to thought. And that is not meant to sound pretentious, though those that dont think on that level might believe it to be so. You're either an etheral person or you're not - no judgement. The Tree of Life itself is cinematic thought - Malick's attempt to explore the visual interpretation of your brain trying to make sense of life; yours specifically, in general, in relation to nature and to grace. He used the cinema (his communication mechanism) to explore the meaning of life. I left the theater in thought about humanity - not because of an agenda set by Malick but because the underlying current of the film is to evaluate what happened in life and why or why not we do what we do. Expand
  72. Jun 16, 2011
    9
    First off, if you are looking for a traditional narrative, this is not the movie for you; the film contains probably less than ten pages of actual dialogue. Not all stories have to be told with words alone, and the striking, beautiful and compelling images of this film tell the story of this Texas family quite well. Brad Pitt is especially good in the multi-layered role of the father;First off, if you are looking for a traditional narrative, this is not the movie for you; the film contains probably less than ten pages of actual dialogue. Not all stories have to be told with words alone, and the striking, beautiful and compelling images of this film tell the story of this Texas family quite well. Brad Pitt is especially good in the multi-layered role of the father; there's a quiet intensity to his performance, and the young actors are also good. The Tree of Life is very impressionistic and abstract; it challenges you to follow along and to keep up with it. I haven't seen too many movies recently that I was still thinking about a week after seeing it. I understand that there are some who won't want to make that kind of investment on a weekend movie night. For those that do, the payoff is rewarding. Expand
  73. Jun 13, 2011
    10
    Probably is going to be one of the best films of 2011, maybe the best one. Malick has excelled, this movie is a masterpiece, no doubts, the perfect harmony between sound, music, pictures, a great screenplay and good performances.
  74. Jun 12, 2011
    10
    Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" was the most anticipated movie of the year for me. I was hoped I'll see something that will leave me wordless. And I saw it. It could be different for every viewer, but you won't be able to describe it. Performances by Brad Pitt, Hunter McCracken and Jessica Chastain were brilliant.
  75. Jun 7, 2011
    10
    Is this a movie about a hard-working 1950's father who, ground down by the greed of the rich and the machinations of the patent court, and mooning over having to give up a promising musical career as a young man, takes out his frustrations on his rebellious eldest son? And those hundreds of hammerhead sharks, are they supposed to represent the greedy rich?

    WHO KNOWS? Or, is this a movie
    Is this a movie about a hard-working 1950's father who, ground down by the greed of the rich and the machinations of the patent court, and mooning over having to give up a promising musical career as a young man, takes out his frustrations on his rebellious eldest son? And those hundreds of hammerhead sharks, are they supposed to represent the greedy rich?

    WHO KNOWS?

    Or, is this a movie about a lovely, loving, and beloved mother who, mourning over the loss of her eldest (or is it 2nd eldest?) son, questions the benevolence and even the existence of God until, with the aid of two beauteous angelic sylphs, she finally gives up her son to God? And what's with all those swirly astronomical scenes, billowing explosive clouds of gas, and pulsing glowing.... things? Are they supposed to represent her internal struggles with God?

    WHO KNOWS?

    Or, is it a movie about a boy on the cusp of sexual maturity, confused about the feelings evoked by fleeting glimpses of scantily clad neighborhood women in the heat of the summer, goaded by his neighborhood buddies into acts of cruelty and theft, resentful over the way in which his father treats his mother, his brothers, and himself, resentful of the pressure of guild and remonstrance from his angelic mother, grows up to be, um, either dead or Sean Penn?

    WHO KNOWS?

    And why did that fleet carnivorous dinosaur, with his paw on the head of the abandoned baby herbivore, decide to saunter away, leaving his putative prey lying there still alive? Wasn't he hungry?

    WHO KNOWS?

    And about that gigantic, beached, prehistoric sea monster with the deep bloody gash in his side --- was that his head at the end of a huge neck twisting around to view the damage? Or was that the head of some other gigantic prehistoric beast who happened to be wandering by?

    WHO KNOWS?

    And what were all those slowly twisting spirally thingies? Were they spirochetes?

    And was that the birth and death of the universe? And why did they plant that tree? To memorialize the person who had crashed his bike and was flopping in death throes on the grass?

    WHO KNOWS?

    And was that the Horsehead Nebula?

    YES IT WAS!
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  76. Jun 7, 2011
    10
    Absolutely magnificent! One of the most visually pleasing aesthetic films to be made in decades! The film is clearly spiritual and open for interpretation. You will either love or hate this film with passion. At least ... watch the entirety of the film, rather than giving up 25 minutes into the creation of the world.
  77. Jun 5, 2011
    10
    Malick, who remains in a league of his own as a filmmaker of pure high art, creative and artistic excellence, epic heights of groundbreaking grandiosity, metaphysical transcendence, spiritual awakening, symbolism, and so much more...Tree of Life represents his highest note in filmmaking achievement. The performances along with the haunting visual aesthetics, mesmerizing cinematography,Malick, who remains in a league of his own as a filmmaker of pure high art, creative and artistic excellence, epic heights of groundbreaking grandiosity, metaphysical transcendence, spiritual awakening, symbolism, and so much more...Tree of Life represents his highest note in filmmaking achievement. The performances along with the haunting visual aesthetics, mesmerizing cinematography, production design, editing are a wondrous feast for the eyes but more important remain crucial and vital nourishment for oneâ Expand
  78. Jun 4, 2011
    10
    SMart PERSON: I trust in Malick. Thus, I knew this wouldn't be a MOVIE, rather it would be an experience. It is essentially a breathing series of paintings: walking, talking...thinking, that are meant to induce questions to which only the viewer himself can answer. Artistically speaking, Malick has created a stunning piece of cinema, unlike any filmmaker in history. For all mankind's sake,SMart PERSON: I trust in Malick. Thus, I knew this wouldn't be a MOVIE, rather it would be an experience. It is essentially a breathing series of paintings: walking, talking...thinking, that are meant to induce questions to which only the viewer himself can answer. Artistically speaking, Malick has created a stunning piece of cinema, unlike any filmmaker in history. For all mankind's sake, I hope it's not his last.
    MASSES: If you're wanting a car crash or going because Brad Pitt is in it...Good luck. With the rest of your life too.
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  79. Jun 2, 2011
    10
    A visual poem, but more. I found myself crying without really knowing why. Just pure emotion. This is a movie I will be seeing AT LEAST 2 more times! Of course, there is a very small percentage of people who may be disappointed there are no car chases or robots, but if you're looking for something fresh - unlike anything you've ever seen in the theater - then this film is for you.
  80. tjq
    Jun 1, 2011
    10
    This film is high art. I'm not going to pretend I fully grasped all of the complex symbolism and abstraction, but I left the screening in awe and my wife and I were clearly moved emotionally. Malick pushed the envelope and took a huge risk in making this film. He created a work of art and engaged the viewers in a discussion of grand ideas. One of the few movies I've seen in my lifetimeThis film is high art. I'm not going to pretend I fully grasped all of the complex symbolism and abstraction, but I left the screening in awe and my wife and I were clearly moved emotionally. Malick pushed the envelope and took a huge risk in making this film. He created a work of art and engaged the viewers in a discussion of grand ideas. One of the few movies I've seen in my lifetime that I can't wait to see again. Expand
  81. May 29, 2011
    10
    The Tree of Life is amazing! The images are so beautiful and the cinematography scenes are nice that gives wide angle close ups in each scene that the movie journeys to the world of life, earth ,atmosphere, and galaxy. Sometimes the story didn't get the idea that what's this movie is really about? I understand that this movie is trying to focus on those characters and the images that theThe Tree of Life is amazing! The images are so beautiful and the cinematography scenes are nice that gives wide angle close ups in each scene that the movie journeys to the world of life, earth ,atmosphere, and galaxy. Sometimes the story didn't get the idea that what's this movie is really about? I understand that this movie is trying to focus on those characters and the images that the movie shows, and I feel that this movie gets a lot of intention about things that we knew about the reality. This movie is very quiet, no dialog, no disturbing scenes, and no script, so I easily say that it's beautiful movie that brings good idea of art. Collapse
  82. May 29, 2011
    9
    Abstract. Visually stunning. Impressionistic. Made up of memories and dreams. The little things (that too often we take for granted) are what really matters. Definitely not for everyone.
  83. May 28, 2011
    9
    This is for film and art lovers. and it is also a film about being a Man and growing up a boy. Especially the periods of stealing things and destruction that all young boys go through. But it is mostly a master at work posing questions about the animals that we are and how we make each other feel and how we can be haunted for life by shame for who we are, who are parents are, and theThis is for film and art lovers. and it is also a film about being a Man and growing up a boy. Especially the periods of stealing things and destruction that all young boys go through. But it is mostly a master at work posing questions about the animals that we are and how we make each other feel and how we can be haunted for life by shame for who we are, who are parents are, and the animalistic actions and urges we live with. But we do have a choice to try and love and fight the inner nature of man. And Malick is trying to show how difficult that choice is to make on a daily basis because of how much the cards are stacked against grace and love. To me the ending of forgiveness and connection with the ones we love, nature, and strangers is the answer we all have to find to find peace, and then in that peace, there we can create our own beautiful universe of magnificent architecture. We can be whatever created this universe. He closes it on that bridge. A bridge we must build. Expand
  84. May 28, 2011
    10
    This film gives you a breath of fresh air from what you're used to seeing dominate the movie theaters these days. It was very eye-captivating, moving, and something we could all relate too. There was one scene that made a couple sitting next to me reminisce on their own lives, provoking them to caress one another for that split moment. And that's what this movie shows: the importanceThis film gives you a breath of fresh air from what you're used to seeing dominate the movie theaters these days. It was very eye-captivating, moving, and something we could all relate too. There was one scene that made a couple sitting next to me reminisce on their own lives, provoking them to caress one another for that split moment. And that's what this movie shows: the importance of every moment in our lives. Expand
  85. May 27, 2011
    10
    Truly an experience more than a film. Roger Ebert couldn't be more correct in saying it's a type of prayer. This movie really must be seen by everyone, coming out of the theater you will have a completely different take on the meaning of life.
  86. May 27, 2011
    10
    truly awesome. i saw a packed midnight show in nyc. there was a standing ovation at the end of the film. this could possibly be malick's best... really hope people are affected by this.
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.