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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 511 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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: 79 out of 221
  1. Jul 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 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. Jun 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 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. 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. Dec 29, 2011
    The Tree of Life is not for everyone, close or narrow mind may not enjoy the movie. It redefines the roots of film-making. The storytelling is almost entirely made of beautiful pictures and metaphysical narration, only a few dialogues are included. I feel that this is great because it allows the viewer to think while watching. Why would you want to think while watching a movie I bet you're asking yourself ? Well, the Tree of Life is more than a movie, it's a journey, a door on the existential questions of life. The viewer won't be able to stop himself on reflecting about these different questions. The movie is about love, and what are good and evil. Therefor, the "lack" of dialogues is a blessing for it allows the mind of the viewer to grow. The Tree of Life is an enriching experience by Terrence Malick. Expand
  5. Jun 29, 2011
    This was like two movies in one. It should have been about 45 minutes shorter. I loved the visually stunning parts in the middle, but by the end of the movie I was saying just end it PLEASE, but they didn't. 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 221 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2011

    Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2011 Image
    Published: January 9, 2012
    The results are in! We've tallied your votes for the best movie, TV show, video game, album, and song of 2011. Find out which titles our users preferred inside...
  2. The Best and Worst Movies of 2011

    The Best and Worst Movies of 2011 Image
    Published: January 5, 2012
    Get our final rankings for the past year's best- and worst-reviewed films and see how 2011 compared to previous years.
  3. 2011 Film Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 11]

    2011 Film Critic Top Ten Lists [Updated Jan. 11] Image
    Published: December 8, 2011
    Throughout the next two months, we
  4. 2011 Film Awards and Nominations

    2011 Film Awards and Nominations Image
    Published: December 5, 2011
    Over the next three months, we
  5. Cannes Recap: A Look at This Year's Key Films

    Cannes Recap: A Look at This Year's Key Films Image
    Published: May 23, 2011
    Our complete recap of the just-concluded 64th Cannes Film Festival includes a look at this year's winners and a summary of critical reaction to the 25 biggest films in and out of competition.