The Tree of Life

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 555 Ratings

User score distribution:
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  1. Jun 26, 2011
    1
    Perhaps since this movie made me think "please god let it end" for an hour, it was a religious experience. Otherwise not so much. This was the Hubble space telescope meets pseudo profundity. There is nothing quite so trite as overwrought emotion, and this movie is really trite. With access to the technology necessary it could have been made by a high school student - there wasn't anPerhaps since this movie made me think "please god let it end" for an hour, it was a religious experience. Otherwise not so much. This was the Hubble space telescope meets pseudo profundity. There is nothing quite so trite as overwrought emotion, and this movie is really trite. With access to the technology necessary it could have been made by a high school student - there wasn't an insight in it that most overwrought 17 yr olds haven't had. I wanted to see what the fuss was about so blew two hours; trust me and don't make that same mistake yourself. Expand
  2. Jun 5, 2011
    1
    I do not know quite where to begin. My wife and I are college graduates, she is an attorney and I have done some graduate work. We read about this movie in the Austin paper on Friday because Terry Malick lives here. A lengthy article which only touched on the utter incomprehensibility of this movie. Malick may be a genius in the same way Jackson Pollack was: perhaps once someoneI do not know quite where to begin. My wife and I are college graduates, she is an attorney and I have done some graduate work. We read about this movie in the Austin paper on Friday because Terry Malick lives here. A lengthy article which only touched on the utter incomprehensibility of this movie. Malick may be a genius in the same way Jackson Pollack was: perhaps once someone tediously explains what you are looking at, you smile, walk away, but still dont get it. If you thought 2001: A Space Odessey was challenging, you are not going to like this. It starts with an overly drawn out Big Bang sequence, contains a dinosaur sequence fresh from Jurrasic Park, and closes with the end of time. I say "closes" because the movie is SO long, you think (and hope) it ends well before it does (several false closes) and then thankfully ends, seemingly five hours later. I wish I were more artistic and etherial and could somehow recommend this movie, which clearly was made for artistic and etherial critics, and those endless Cannes/Sundance/Toronto film festivals for an award. We ordinarily trust Metacritic's critic scores faithfully to attend or not attend movies. This time, ignore them and trust the User Reviews. Expand
  3. Jul 2, 2011
    0
    I signed up for the site just to write this review. I've never felt so misled by a Metacritic metascore.

    This movie is not intellectual. It is absolute drek. I like nuanced, interesting movies, and this is neither.
  4. Jun 4, 2011
    0
    Punishingly pretentious. No stable narrative or dialogues. Piece of crap. Terrence Malick really is a very pseudo-intellectual director. I hope this film is a huge failure
  5. Dec 29, 2011
    0
    I signed up just to review this movie. I enjoy stimulating films, and count in my collection movies by Jodorowsky and other fascinating directors. I am no stranger to weird cinema. This movie is the worst piece of crap to ever be filmed. It makes absolutely no sense at all, goes in no direction and is totally unwatchable. Critics say they love this because for the most part they areI signed up just to review this movie. I enjoy stimulating films, and count in my collection movies by Jodorowsky and other fascinating directors. I am no stranger to weird cinema. This movie is the worst piece of crap to ever be filmed. It makes absolutely no sense at all, goes in no direction and is totally unwatchable. Critics say they love this because for the most part they are pretentious idiots who are not brave enough to say they don't get it. Stay away from this movie like the plague. Expand
  6. SAS
    Jul 20, 2011
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film seems like a desperate attempt to create a beautiful film that stands out from others, however the result is a substance-less and confused mish-mash of semi religious, semi romantic ideas about the world, life and some memories of the main character's childhood.

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

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

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

    In summary, if there is a film that will leave your head scratching and makes you want to ask for your money back, this is it!
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  7. Jan 9, 2012
    1
    This movie was bad. It was like sitting at a table with a doosh who is trying to tell you what the meaning of life is- it's bad. If you say that you did not like this movie typicly people or "hipsters" will mentaly decide you just where not smart enough to get it.... It was a waste of money...
  8. RSS
    Jun 10, 2011
    0
    I'm sorry -- what is this movie? Don't expect a story or caring about the characters. Good visuals, but lacking reason. I can't remember the last time I wanted to get up and walk out of a movie, but this came close.
  9. Jun 11, 2011
    1
    Pretentious rambling sporadic self conflagulation lauded by critics too afraid to go against the popular grain. This is one man's random splattering of hubble photographs interspersed with Brat Pitt posing as a real person and Sean Penn attempting to look thoughtful in cameo shots. The only real actors are the boys left adrift in a plotless story. Save your $ and buy a lottery ticketPretentious rambling sporadic self conflagulation lauded by critics too afraid to go against the popular grain. This is one man's random splattering of hubble photographs interspersed with Brat Pitt posing as a real person and Sean Penn attempting to look thoughtful in cameo shots. The only real actors are the boys left adrift in a plotless story. Save your $ and buy a lottery ticket instead. At least that randomness has a shot at paying off. Expand
  10. Jun 5, 2011
    1
    This is one of the most over rated and underwhelming films in years. It is worst than "The Thin Red Line" . I got the message but I have seen the message delivered in other films. I have also seen the message delivered in a manner that makes you give a damn. Malick is a pretentious fraud hiding as an essentialist guru. I feel sorry for him and the casual film goer who will be sucked in byThis is one of the most over rated and underwhelming films in years. It is worst than "The Thin Red Line" . I got the message but I have seen the message delivered in other films. I have also seen the message delivered in a manner that makes you give a damn. Malick is a pretentious fraud hiding as an essentialist guru. I feel sorry for him and the casual film goer who will be sucked in by the glowing reviews. A.O. Scott of the NY Times should apologize for his review. Simply a disaster disguised as art! Expand
  11. Jul 15, 2011
    0
    I was thinking that watching all the small town happiness cliches that I had already seen in The Thin Red line might work out if the film turned out to be the autobiography of David Koresh ... and there was a brief flash of unexplained flaming house near the end, but I think that was just a flashback to Badlands ... so, no, it turns out to be the autobiography of Sean Penn, but that's notI was thinking that watching all the small town happiness cliches that I had already seen in The Thin Red line might work out if the film turned out to be the autobiography of David Koresh ... and there was a brief flash of unexplained flaming house near the end, but I think that was just a flashback to Badlands ... so, no, it turns out to be the autobiography of Sean Penn, but that's not evenaccurate because I knew Sean's father and he was not Brad Pitt. Expand
  12. Jul 15, 2011
    1
    The completely polarized reviews here, where everyone seems to give it 10 or 1, probably tell you everything you need to know. If you're a high-art film and/or Malick fan, you'll love it. If you're dubious; trust that instinct! Me? I cannot remember the last time I noticed so many people in the theater squirming in their seats waiting for the film to end. Toward the finish of the movie,The completely polarized reviews here, where everyone seems to give it 10 or 1, probably tell you everything you need to know. If you're a high-art film and/or Malick fan, you'll love it. If you're dubious; trust that instinct! Me? I cannot remember the last time I noticed so many people in the theater squirming in their seats waiting for the film to end. Toward the finish of the movie, during some of the (many) fades-to-black, you could feel the palpable tension in the audience as we collectively hoped to see credits roll. I know there are fans who will assume I'm too stupid to get it, but this film is simply not the rich tapestry the 10-scorers here seem to believe. I found it to be weapons-grade self-indulgence, possessing a limited number of cards that it plays repeatedly. Feels way longer than 135 minutes. It gets 2 not zero for the striking visuals â Expand
  13. Dec 21, 2011
    2
    The Tree of Life is the perfect example of a love-hate movie. Either you see it and you are suddenly enlightened into some sort of great insight and deep meaning that the movie has hidden deep within or you are left wondering what the hell you just saw and how you ever managed to stay awake through the whole thing. For me, I hated the film. It seemed utterly pointless, and I have noThe Tree of Life is the perfect example of a love-hate movie. Either you see it and you are suddenly enlightened into some sort of great insight and deep meaning that the movie has hidden deep within or you are left wondering what the hell you just saw and how you ever managed to stay awake through the whole thing. For me, I hated the film. It seemed utterly pointless, and I have no idea how others can look at it and see anything other than jumbled and very poor story telling albeit with beautiful cinematography. My theory is that many people see themselves as being very insightful and artistic and therefore they embrace this movie saying that they, with their great artistic minds and deep thought, found profound meaning in this movie. Expand
  14. Jun 21, 2011
    0
    I couldn't wait for this film to be over. Terry Malik rips off Stanley Kubrick's 2001; Orson Wells' Magnificent Ambersons and several other "Scenes From A Marriage" - like films in producing one giant yawn of an overextended lesson in a child's coming of age yarn. We see the signs of childhood nature contrasted against the adult world of glass and steel highrises again, and again, andI couldn't wait for this film to be over. Terry Malik rips off Stanley Kubrick's 2001; Orson Wells' Magnificent Ambersons and several other "Scenes From A Marriage" - like films in producing one giant yawn of an overextended lesson in a child's coming of age yarn. We see the signs of childhood nature contrasted against the adult world of glass and steel highrises again, and again, and again. So too are the scenes of the domineering father and servile, but repressed, free-spirited wife, bickering again, and again and again. While one can't criticized the level of the acting and the occasionally impressive photography, this could have been made as a silent movie - and by that I mean not even snipets of dialogue cards - for the lack of impact of any verbal communications between any of the characters. Skip this mess unless you're in need of a good two hour's sleep. Expand
  15. Jun 21, 2011
    0
    I am an artist and I consider myself to be very open minded. I am also somewhat a fan of Brad Pitt's acting. Regardless, it did not make me like this film. I was disappointed in the story line and embarrassed for Brad to have his name associated with this artistic disaster. It was just bad. Scenes were choppy. There was no rhyme and reason to some of the scenes. A flashback in time focusedI am an artist and I consider myself to be very open minded. I am also somewhat a fan of Brad Pitt's acting. Regardless, it did not make me like this film. I was disappointed in the story line and embarrassed for Brad to have his name associated with this artistic disaster. It was just bad. Scenes were choppy. There was no rhyme and reason to some of the scenes. A flashback in time focused on one particular year in childhood instead of a lifetime. And, we certainly could have done without the 'Jurassic Park dinasour' scenes. In the theatre, throughout the movie, people sitting around me were saying, "I don't get it" and I was thinking the same thing. It was a waste of my money and time. Expand
  16. Jul 12, 2011
    0
    One of the most self-indulgent films I've ever seen. I'm stunned that so many critics liked this. It's different, yes, and it is beautiful in a purely visual way, but it is not enjoyable. Slow, tedious, and extraordinarily boring. The ending was so bad, I thought it was a joke, and we were being filmed for our reactions. Sorry, this film is overhyped, overrated, it just isn't that good.
  17. Jul 7, 2011
    2
    I have been excited for this film ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, but The Tree of Life disappointed me completely. The only reason I give this film a 2 was because the cinematography was beautiful - the movie takes place in sprawling suburbs, dense forests and ultramodern urban environments that were very pretty to look at. But what killed this movie for me was not the lackI have been excited for this film ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, but The Tree of Life disappointed me completely. The only reason I give this film a 2 was because the cinematography was beautiful - the movie takes place in sprawling suburbs, dense forests and ultramodern urban environments that were very pretty to look at. But what killed this movie for me was not the lack of plot and development, it was the excruciatingly dull 15 minute montages of everything from oceans to CGI'd dinosaurs. Three people in the theatre left during the longest of these sequences, and I found myself either falling asleep or silently begging for them to end. I even considered leaving myself. Although I appreciate the director's attempts to create something artful, The Tree of Life was not enjoyable in the slightest for me, or anyone else in the theatre. When the credits finally rolled, people let out sighs of relief and I heard at least two "finally!"s! Expand
  18. Jul 8, 2011
    2
    yuch! Never (or rarely) has my reaction to a movie been at such variance to the critics and the consensus.
    Brad Pitt meets Hubble telescope and Jurassic Park!
    Puh-lease!
  19. Jan 10, 2012
    0
    So boring. Not even Brad Prit can change how boring this movie is. So long nothing but silence. Yes a father and son story but it is so empty nobody can really relate to the characters.
  20. Aug 1, 2011
    0
    There are people who will call this film art. There are people who will call this film poetry. When you hear those defences, just remember - there is lots of really bad art and poetry! I'm surprised to see so many experienced critics drawn in by this piece of pretentious nonsense. Who says there are two paths through life - the path of nature and the path of grace? And who says natureThere are people who will call this film art. There are people who will call this film poetry. When you hear those defences, just remember - there is lots of really bad art and poetry! I'm surprised to see so many experienced critics drawn in by this piece of pretentious nonsense. Who says there are two paths through life - the path of nature and the path of grace? And who says nature inevitably equals all things bad, and so is the father, or that grace is all things good and so of course the mother? This black and white vision of the world is not sophisticated - it is simplistic. Don't be fooled by this film! Expand
  21. Mar 11, 2012
    1
    I cannot believe this movie got so much good reviews, It was a bad movie.. There was no story line but there was an hour of displaying national geographic videos and photos.
  22. Jun 23, 2011
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Tree of Life is like watching a drama about a family crash into Koyaanisqatsi. The central narrative is well-acted and poignant at times, but it gets lost in a ponderous muddle of poorly done CGI dinosaurs and stock footage of canyons, waterfalls, and reflections of clouds rolling across glass skyscrapers. Even the score, with its heavy use of woodwinds and choir, could've been composed by Philip Glass. I got the impression Malick was trying to serve up profundities about life, death and the connectedness of everything, but alas, I'm a mere mortal and I couldn't follow this mysterious trail of breadcrumbs. The metaphors are bloated-red-giant-sun-consuming-the-earth kind of overblown. I give the film credit for its beautiful cinematography, but even there it tries one's patience, with pointless slice of life scenes that drag on forever. The film's running time is apparently geological. Save yourself whatever it would cost to see this pretentious mess and buy a can of paint instead. You'll surely find more entertainment in watching it dry. Expand
  23. Jun 21, 2011
    0
    This movie was trying to be way to 'deep'. All of the drawn out space and dinosaur adventures are pointless, and add absolutely nothing to the movie. The middle portion of the movie- where it is actually comprehensible- is mediocre, but watchable, but add all the unnecessary filler, and you get a crap movie. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying too hard.
  24. Jun 9, 2011
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One of the most pretentious movies I've ever seen, from the film's opening, whispered voice-overs which are virtually incomprehensible to anyone with A+ hearing, to the final, final, final ending when all meet joyfully or joylessly (once again the audience doesn't know what to think and ultimately doesn't care) in Heaven with images and philosophical BS I haven't seen since enduring the pandering, ridiculous, simplistic movie shown at the Mormon pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Contemplating your navel has been taken to a new low. Last, but not least, what was Sean Penn doing in this movie? Looking for his Maalox and Gas-X? How such an excellent, caring actor and person got involved in this twaddle 'tis a puzzlement. Expand
  25. Oct 2, 2011
    0
    This movie goes to far into nowhere. This is a movie you really, really have to try and like. You haver to look for the meaning of what it means. It's better for DVD so you can go back and watch again so you can develop an explaination of what the movie is trying to say. To me it's a baffle them with BS movie and not the great film I was expecting. Horrible.
  26. Jul 3, 2011
    0
    This is on behalf of movielover1 below, who mistakenly gave this a 10 when he/she clearly hated it and meant to rate it a 0, as follows:

    movielover1 Jun 20, 201110 Due to this movie, I lost 2 hours of my life that I cannot replace. I consider myself to be perceptive, curious and smart however this movie did not spark any of those traits. Several people in the theater left after about 20
    This is on behalf of movielover1 below, who mistakenly gave this a 10 when he/she clearly hated it and meant to rate it a 0, as follows:

    movielover1 Jun 20, 201110 Due to this movie, I lost 2 hours of my life that I cannot replace. I consider myself to be perceptive, curious and smart however this movie did not spark any of those traits. Several people in the theater left after about 20 minutes. Those that remained often groaned as they shifted in their seats. When it was finally over we chatted with many people - all of whom said "what the hell was that???". I can honestly say that it was probably the worst movie I have ever seen.â
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  27. Jul 3, 2011
    3
    With 24 hours passed since watching this movie, I feel I can now write a more objective review of this movie.
    This movie is a hollywood attempt at artistic sophistication. It's comes off like McDonald's trying to do fine dining, or your local bricklayer attempting surgery.
    It is laborious, overdone, and so so heavy handed it becomes unbearable. Fifteen minutes into the movie I thought to
    With 24 hours passed since watching this movie, I feel I can now write a more objective review of this movie.
    This movie is a hollywood attempt at artistic sophistication. It's comes off like McDonald's trying to do fine dining, or your local bricklayer attempting surgery.
    It is laborious, overdone, and so so heavy handed it becomes unbearable. Fifteen minutes into the movie I thought to myself that it reminds me of the style of the "the thin red line" (a movie I really liked and recommend), and found out on metacritic that it is indeed the same director. But this movie lacks the balance of "the thin red line" and looses itself in the bigger picture it tries to portray.
    People in the theatre just started snickering toward the final minutes as the endless array of imagery was crudely sequenced together - and this happened in an independent cinema!!
    What this film lacked was subtelty and balance. Its a shame because there were ingredients there from which something very special could have been made.
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  28. Jul 21, 2011
    0
    This would have to be the worst movie ever made, the disjointed story telling, the haphazard collection of Hubblesque photographs, the failure of the characters to age, the diabolically poor performance by Sean Penn just make this the most distressingly depressing movie of our time.

    I am so glad they don't sell razorblades in the foyer.
  29. Jul 26, 2011
    0
    I cannot understand why many otherwise excellent critics, such as Roger Ebert (with whom I usually agree, more or less) did not pan this movie. It is pretentious crap. To say that it is personal, that it is Malick's personal poetic or philosophical vision is to let him off the hook for a piece of appallingly boring mediocrity. I have very sophisticated tastes and see lots of indieI cannot understand why many otherwise excellent critics, such as Roger Ebert (with whom I usually agree, more or less) did not pan this movie. It is pretentious crap. To say that it is personal, that it is Malick's personal poetic or philosophical vision is to let him off the hook for a piece of appallingly boring mediocrity. I have very sophisticated tastes and see lots of indie films. I have a great appreciation for great writing, directing, and acting, and have lots of knowledge about literature and music - in fact I am an expert on music. Of the movies that have received favorable critical reviews and which I have seen (and that includes the vast majority of those movies, as I am a film fanatic), this is BY FAR the worst one of them I have ever seen. Complete waste of time. Do not believe the hype. This movie is a failure and it leads me to believe that Malick is a complete fraud in fact. I am still scratching my head. Expand
  30. Sep 3, 2011
    0
    I too signed up to Metacritic purely to review this film.

    Simply put, I loved The Thin Red Line and went to see Tree Of Life on the strength of this. ToL is a 2 1/4 hour art wank trip that looks like a cross between a NASA documentary and autumnal adverts for fabric softener. It's message is lost in a confusion of pretensiousness, and is one that is not worth telling in the first
    I too signed up to Metacritic purely to review this film.

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

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

    If you strap a camcorder to a dog and let it run around for 2 hours, you'd get a better film.
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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.