Universal acclaim - based on 43 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 489 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    May 26, 2011
    In terms of scale, The Tree Of Life recalls the mammoth ambition of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," but it's also more intimate and personal than Malick's previous films, rooted in vivid memories of growing up in '50s Texas.
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jun 2, 2011
    The only other film I've seen with this boldness of vision is Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," and it lacked Malick's fierce evocation of human feeling.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jul 4, 2011
    There is simply nothing like it out there: profound, idiosyncratic, complex, sincere and magical; a confirmation that cinema can aspire to art.
  4. Reviewed by: Wade Major
    May 17, 2011
    Aggressively impressionistic and unapologetically spiritual, Malick's long-gestating meditation on the meaning of life is, if nothing else, a singularly original and deeply personal film - a growing rarity in American cinema.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 27, 2011
    For all its flaws, The Tree of Life is a stunning exception to the rule that you can safely check your brain at the popcorn counter until after Labor Day. That's enough to place it among the year's best movies, or at least most-talked-about ones.
  6. 80
    After warming up with "The Thin Red Line" and "The New World," Malick has succeeded in fully creating his own film syntax, his own temporal reality, and lo, it is … kind of goofy. But riveting.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jun 16, 2011
    Glibly put, this challenging time-skipping rumination is the big screen equivalent of watching that "Tree" grow.

See all 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 77 out of 214
  1. Sep 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 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
  2. Jul 6, 2011
    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

    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.
  3. Oct 16, 2011
    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
  4. Jan 28, 2013
    The Tree of Life is a movie that really makes you think. It's not hard to follow and I wouldn't call it "confusing" but if you're looking for a movie to just simply watch and not analyze this is not the movie for you. The only problem with this movie is the fact that both the beginning and ending "artistic" sequences are too long. My only other complaint is that the movie could have ended several times but the ending sequence as I just said drags on for just slightly too long. This movie is lead by great acting by both Pitt and Chastain. Pitt playing the hard and traditional father and Chastain playing Pitt's wife and the emotional mother. This film also features theological ties and biblical references something typical of the movie's director Terrence Malick. Overall The Tree of Life is a good movie. It's not for everyone but I would certainly recommend it. Expand
  5. Jan 13, 2013
    Just because a movie is filmed beautifully doesn't make it the best movie ever. A film needs a story, or at least some sort of plot. I tried to view this movie multiple times to find some sort of abstract or hidden meaning behind it, but I have been unsuccessful. Capturing only little snippets of a person's life here and there, then throwing in some dinosaurs doesn't make for a compelling story in my opinion. Expand
  6. Jun 24, 2011
    just, i don't know... I had to laugh by a movie trying so hard to explain why God takes away children. It is because God's creation is so much bigger apparently, we are just a tiny part of it. There are dinosaurs and the cosmos and the universe (see Hubble pictures). You know? It was said in the bible to Job. "Where were you when I created the earth, you arrogant **** don't complain". In the end we all go to heaven and then you'll get to see all your loved ones back that have gone. You have to walk through a door that is standing in a desert and if you do then you will find lots of people in white robes that walk barefooted on a beach. Yup, that's them, your long lost ones. Aren't you glad you now know where they've been all that time? It is a very spiritual experience and I gained much insight in life's deeper meaning. Zzzzz..... Expand
  7. Dec 4, 2011
    Shockingly self-serving drivel. As a scientist, I was appalled at the inane attempt to present a timeline of life (as pretty as it was). The movie "Adaptation " did it in one quick scene. This lunacy goes on for a period of time that truly made me shake. The awfulness is indescribable. The pain worse than an unanaesthetized tooth extraction. As a writer, I was incensed from the very first whisper (the whole slide show is in a whisper) with false spiritual music gnawing at you in the background.The narrative is accomplishable in 8x fast forward which is the only way I could watch this.These amazing actors were silenced by insane direction and muffled by a score better suited for a 700 Club infomercial.

    If a reviewer likes this film then they didn't watch it or they're related to Maleck. I was asked to consider voting for this film. I am considering sending it to my enemies.

    I wish I had a way to waste a Saturday night of Maleck's.

See all 214 User Reviews


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