Fox Searchlight Pictures | Release Date: May 27, 2011
7.0
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 622 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
421
Mixed:
80
Negative:
121
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10
eddie1987Oct 23, 2011
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
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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10
opennoiseJul 10, 2011
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 asI 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. Expand
2 of 5 users found this helpful23
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10
DarkCriticMay 29, 2011
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 storyThe 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. Expand
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
Falling_HammerFeb 5, 2012
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'tTerrence 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
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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10
ZeusJun 7, 2011
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 entiretyAbsolutely 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. Expand
7 of 9 users found this helpful72
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10
DKayJun 4, 2011
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 theSMart 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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8 of 11 users found this helpful83
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10
Brian_McInnisApr 14, 2012
So dreadfully rarely is film let out of its cage. So terribly scarcely is the language of movies used as though it's never been spoken before. This is cinema unbound. Terrence Malick's fifth film is a grand victory of human awareness andSo dreadfully rarely is film let out of its cage. So terribly scarcely is the language of movies used as though it's never been spoken before. This is cinema unbound. Terrence Malick's fifth film is a grand victory of human awareness and stands among the greatest, most fearlessly original and most universal of all films. It explores human experience from the inside, from within its characters' thoughts and sensations. Malick identifies its protagonist as its viewer and assembles a multitude of brief impressions of astounding vividness to act as an analogue of our own collection of memories. Roger Ebert wrote of Charlie Kaufman's great 'Synecdoche New York',

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

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

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

There's a moment in the film that moves me more than film has ever before moved me. One morning, when the boys wake to find their father has gone on a trip, and they're free to romp in the house and tease their mother with a lizard and for once life is as it ought be with them, they run outside laughing with her as 'Les Baricades Misterieuses' plays, and we hear the mother's prayer for her children - for all that live. 'Help each other. Love every one. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.'
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0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
alzslo08Jun 12, 2011
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.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. Expand
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
asthobaskoroAug 23, 2011
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 undeniablyTree 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. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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10
WeAreOneJul 11, 2011
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, butIf 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
2 of 5 users found this helpful23
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10
ZachBJun 30, 2011
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.
4 of 8 users found this helpful44
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10
BhawkJul 26, 2011
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 toStunning. 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
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
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10
ImprovisedDec 12, 2011
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.As is the case with all substantial art, this film's acceptance deviates from the mean--evident by the number of 0/1s and 9/10s on this page. I came into this film with absolutely no expectations. I had not heard nor read one word about it. My dad (father!) left it at my house and I figured I would throw it in the DVD player one Sunday evening after reading the Netflix synopsis. Yes, I did see that it had Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in it, but that meant nothing to me, one way or the other.

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

I'm not sure how anyone can rate this move a 0 or 1 even if it was the most "boring" thing they ever had to sit through. It's as if they went into this movie with expectations that were not fulfilled and have therefore taken it personally. I can understand how this movie might not resonate with everyone, but does it really warrant a 0--as if to say it has no value whatsoever? It seems as if some of these reviews feel the need to overcompensate for reasons that have nothing to do film itself. I'm sorry if someone or some review duped you into this one and you didn't think it was worth your $10, but don't take it all out on the film. I'm pretty sure anyone can honestly find reason enough to give it at least a 3. It's not Troll 2 for crying out loud.
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1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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10
metrocardMay 27, 2011
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.
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
commandersheprdMay 27, 2011
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.
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
Tazmania32May 28, 2011
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 sittingThis 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
4 of 6 users found this helpful42
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10
tjqJun 1, 2011
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 inThis 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
4 of 6 users found this helpful42
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10
cannesfanJun 2, 2011
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 noA 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. Expand
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
WPFILMSJun 5, 2011
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 ofMalick, 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
4 of 8 users found this helpful44
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10
SchlobotnickJun 7, 2011
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 onIs 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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4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
CivertsJun 13, 2011
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.
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
eliotwalnutJun 18, 2011
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 interiorTREE 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. Expand
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
putneyJun 18, 2011
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 giantI'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
3 of 6 users found this helpful33
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10
cabritaApr 27, 2012
A masterpiece only for hardcore movie lovers. Many will misunderstand it others will be cheated by it and some will view it as another masterpiece from arguably the best director of all time. The first time I viewed it I was not prepared forA masterpiece only for hardcore movie lovers. Many will misunderstand it others will be cheated by it and some will view it as another masterpiece from arguably the best director of all time. The first time I viewed it I was not prepared for it and found it boring pretentious and just a movie full of pretty pictures. However Malick finds a way to evoke a feeling of spirituality and wonder, Could this be one of the best movies ever made in history, maybe. Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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10
RenyJun 19, 2011
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.
6 of 11 users found this helpful65
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10
movielover1Jun 20, 2011
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.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.
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7 of 14 users found this helpful77
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10
fug1tiveJun 20, 2011
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
7 of 8 users found this helpful71
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10
CaitJun 26, 2011
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 soPlease, 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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5 of 10 users found this helpful55
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10
thebdmethodJun 27, 2011
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 quickTruly 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
5 of 11 users found this helpful56
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10
lahaineSep 4, 2011
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 directionI'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
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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