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The Tree of Life

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Terrence Malick

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About the Movie

The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. 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 (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) 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.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

84%
  • Reviews Counted: 261
  • Fresh: 219
  • Rotten: 42
  • Average Rating: 8.1/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: A bold, epic exercise that Malick comes close to pulling off. It may not stack up against his best, but it doesn't fail to incite feelings of awe in its audience, either. – Ed Gibbs, The Sun Herald, Dec 18, 2011

Fresh: The tone of the film is mesmeric, transcendent, awe-inspiring. – Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald, Jul 12, 2011

Rotten: A film that's more interesting to argue about than to actually watch. – Michael Atkinson, Sight and Sound, Oct 24, 2011

Fresh: Nobody else [but Malick] could have made it. Few would even dare to try. – Anthony Quinn, Independent (UK), Oct 24, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Philosophy Unbridled.

This is a beautiful and thought provoking film that takes the beauty and structure Malick used in Days of Heaven and makes it intensely personal and cosmic. There is nothing else like it. Do not miss this movie.

Pretentious.

Brad Pitt does a fine job, but the movie is a colossal failure. It makes Eraserhead look like an action flick, & Terrence Malick appears to be emulating David Lynch. We burst out laughing at many unintentionally funny scenes, such as where the meat eating dinosaur allows a plant- eater to live. A cast of fine actors wasted on Malick trying desperately hard to be "meaningful."

With a better editor, this could have been worth 5

(Minor Spoilers Alert)

First, I'll try to clear the air on what this movie is actually about: This movie begins with a man in his office contemplating his life, then a lengthy introduction to the universe. No, I'm not kidding. We see the formation of galaxies, evolution, and finally man. While good, this section went on far too long- if this had been cut down to 5-10 minutes, it would have been more focused and intense.

Then, we are given the true story: a family growing up in the 1950s. This portion of the movie, whatever others say, is actually quite well done. The acting is superb, the drama interesting, and the emotional reactions are just right. A few scenes drag, but overall this is what you'll remember and enjoy in this film.

Then we are given the conclusion, which tries it's d*mnedest to be quite meaningful. Impressionistic shots of people walking along a beach, scenes of churches and canyons, anything that may make you feel "philosophical." The problem, is that it doesn't seem to have anything to say- lots is being shown, but it's all just kodak moments strung together with cuts to black- that's it. This is by far the most stretched out part, and needed to be cut down by at least half an hour. Yes, an entire half hour.

There is a great movie here, but it's been buried in about an hour of unnecessary footage and pretentious motivations. The best movies make us think without trying- if you want to see one of those, go watch There Will Be Blood, which has had me "contemplating" more than this movie ever likely will.

In short, see this movie if you have an intense interest in it, but most people casually interested will find it bloated and overdone, needing a proper editor equipped with pruning shears.

The Tree of Life
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  • $4.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2011

Customer Ratings