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I saw this film 4 times in the theater when it came out, and I've seen it innumerable times since.
This was a true masterwork on multiple levels, and with it Malick birthed a new vernacular of cinema. Replete with symbolic themes derived from Jungian Psychology, this is one of the most intellectually challenging films I've ever seen. And I am not a Malick fan --- this is the only film of his that l like. He tried to apply this same vernacular in subsequent films, and each other attempt failed bigly.
I recommend that anyone who wants to grasp this film watch it numerous times.
The essential Terrance Malick film. A beautiful and contemplative slow burn. You will either love it or hate it.
The ambition of the film produces a paradox for me - I'm left with the sense of an exposure of cinema as a second rate art form, and am not exalted, as is intended. There's a glossiness, a prettiness, a slickness to it which removes it from true, living, breathing art. There's nothing wrong with cinema conceived as a mass art, as long as we see the inherent limitations of such, mostly dictated, I think, by money. For true beauty and genuine elevation of spirit, go to the great musicians, painters, dramatists and poets.
Terrence Malick's Epic Masterpiece! A great movie from beginning to end. YES, it has some slow parts but Tree of Life is still a great movie.
Written and directed by Terrence Malick in 2011, this American drama chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas.
The film appears so confused and complicated with too many voices over and unrelated images of nature.
I don't really understand how other people have praised this film.
Why didn't the director make it simple so that everybody could understand the drama at once without being puzzled and wondering about what's going on?
This is an unconventional movie, a challenge for me to understand at first. However, the DVD package includes a disc which provides excellent background concerning the making of the film, and this helped me a great deal. The second viewing was marvelous. Terrence Malik's story about 3 boys growing up in Waco Texas in 1956 is told visually. Dialogue is sparse, and voice-over narrations are whispered. Eleven-year old Jack is torn by the conflicting parenting styles of his stern, bitter father (Brad Pitt), who seeks to prepare him and his brothers for the harsh adult world, and his ethereal, all-forgiving mother (Jessica Chastain), who Jack loves deeply. The cinematography is astonishing, involving both the formation and death of our universe and the terrestrial activities of our family. The mainly classical music soundtrack is beautiful. Strongly recommended for patient and curious film fans.
This was a difficult movie for me to follow - it was so slow and quiet my mind kept wandering. When I came back the movie had not moved on so I was not missing any of it. I'm sure it was a really beautiful story while it was being developed. It was like someone tried to put their dream on film. Sorry, not for me.
Just simply a beautiful movie, common story told in an uncommon way. Terrence Malick is one of film makings greatest visual storytellers.
Love it or hate it. I saw this at Westdale theatre when it came out. There's a compelling family story here and some very good scenes (Where were you / You spoke to me / I give you my son) which were so moving they gave me chills.
Then, there was the creation of the world stuff and the dinosaurs, which unfortunately I am not sophisticated a film goer enough to appreciate. Although I was not the only one who thought so, several people walked out during the screening.
Only film I've ever watched where I'm literally hitting my head on the seat in front and saying "No, not the dinosaurs again!" Someone should do a "Phantom Edit" and cut out most of the distracting superfluous stuff, there just might be a good 75 minute film in here.
Although, some may love or hate this movie, it is considered a must see for any film school or film class. If you are an aspiring film maker this is a movie that should be experienced and pondered. Look up the commentary by Fr. Robert Barron on this movie.
Not since Kubrick’s hairy man ape threw that fateful bone at the moon in "2001" has a director had the audacity to paint such a simple story across so vast a canvas. With a narrative that stretches from the dawn of creation to the threshold of eternity, Terrence Malick’s grand opus takes man’s ceaseless quest for truth and meaning in a seemingly indifferent cosmos and distills it down to one unhappily middle-aged businessman’s childhood memories. We get the impression that here is a man who’s achieved great material success but is now all too aware of the yawning spiritual void at his feet, and therein lies the film’s central enigma: is this the story of one world weary man’s attempt to reboot his priorities by drawing upon his earlier sense of wonder? or is it all but a momentary flash before the eyes of a wandering soul journeying towards that ultimate light? Awash with soaring arias and portentous visions of parting clouds and swirling galaxies, Malick examines the endless cycle of life and death and life through a curious admixture of Darwinian realism and Judeo-Christian allegory which give rise to some striking scenes---a host of proto-planets silhouetted against a newborn star or a young child swimming through an underwater nursery on his way to being born. Some critics have dismissed "The Tree of Life" as being pretentious and overly ambitious and I can’t completely disagree with them. But unlike the clinical austerity of Kubrick’s vision (still my sentimental favourite) there is an underlying sense of humility to Malick’s film as if all the trials and tribulations of one human family pale to insignificance when set against the majestic universe in which they’re suspended.
You will love this movie or you will hate this movie. I'm in the "love this movie" camp. One key in watching this very ambitious, lyrical film is to let yourself be taken over by it. Treat it like a dream with meaning rather than a linear story to analysis like most films. I don't think it's a perfect film but I think it's a unique and beautiful one overall.
As a person with extensive experience and knowledge of the subjects intended for this film, I was gritting my mind and very irritable through the first 20 minutes. When I saw the salamander in the forest I said, "I'm done!" Perhaps the concept had potiential if it had been more fresh or sincerely deep.
I think we've all seen this story before: uptight military dad subjects his family to constant low-grade stream of unhappy controlling behavior, including physical abuse in the name of "discipline". It's unclear what the addition of the nature images were meant to add; it seemed like they'd be better suited for a National Geographic video.
What an absolute and complete waste of time. One of the worst films I have ever watched, although I could only take 20 minutes of it.
I did not understand one bit about this movie; and yet I watched the entire film.
The film may have been thought-provoking, but I had no idea of what thoughts it was trying to provoke.
Some of the visual effects were interesting(at best), but they weren't entertaining.
If this movie has a message, it completely escaped me.
Life is bigger than we think....A beautiful, thought provoking, lyrical and philosophical film. Makes you ponder about....life.
Outstanding film effects and photography from out- of- this -world places such Yellowstone national park and Death Valley national park. Excellent performances, especially of the young boys.
Proud, that Bedrich Smetana's classical piece "The Moldau" was featured in this amazing art movie.
In this contemporary rendering of (part of) the Book of Job, a question is asked of God concerning the "why" of a tragic event, and God's answer is the entire history of the universe. Not since "2001: A Space odyssey" has a Hollywood film painted such a simple storyline on such a cosmic canvas. (Also like "2001", much of the soundtrack is actual classical/symphonic music, in this case Bach and Berlioz rather than Ligeti and the Strausses.) Simple family drama is crosscut with Hubble space telescope pictures (some animated), grand CG effects, and a final Wakean dream sequence. Judeo-Christian allegory is juxtaposed with (Darwinian?) cosmology in a way that hasn't been done since C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. A word for both those who find this film "too pretentious" and those who would like to congratulate yourself on being savvy enough to "get it": in both cases, don't. Just sit back an enjoy it. And then, discuss it endlessly.
Slowly starting to realize how unintelligent and stubborn the vast majority of the Okanagan is. It's one one of the greatest films of all time. Growing in size with each passing year
Yawn...Watched the first 30 minutes and turned it off. Sorry, didn't interest me.
Didn't expect too much but I was blown away.
Agree with the 2 commenters below.
Awesome in many ways.
I'm surprised this movie got so many bad ratings. I hate most movies & TV, but I think this is one of the best things to come out of hollywood in awhile. That being said, I'd've enjoyed it just as much if it didn't have famous people in it, & almost as much if the sound was off. I would think anyone who's a fan of nature, documentaries, science, beauty, or poetry would at least have Some interest in this film. But if you need things organized into plots, trilogies, & acts, this may not be for you.
Not since Kubrick’s hairy man ape threw that fateful bone at the moon in 2001 has a director had the audacity to paint such a simple story across so vast a canvas. With a narrative that stretches from the dawn of creation to the threshold of eternity, Terrence Malick’s grand opus takes man’s ceaseless quest for truth and meaning in a seemingly indifferent cosmos and distills it down to one unhappily middle-aged businessman’s childhood memories. Through a series of loosely joined vignettes, some painfully real others gauzy and impressionistic, we follow Jack O’Brian’s early years in 1950s Texas as he goes from gurgling newborn to exuberant toddler to disillusioned adolescent tired of the mixed messages he receives from the adult world around him. There are two ways by which to live one’s life, so we’re told in an opening monologue; by grace which encompasses faith, forgiveness and forbearance, and by nature which leans towards man’s baser motivations; envy, dissatisfaction, and resentment. Torn thus between his mother’s quiet stoicism and his father’s authoritarian dictates yet eager to please them both, Jack succumbs first to despair and then to the first stirrings of rebellion. Cut to Jack the adult, working in a barren landscape of skyscrapers and business meetings then coming home to an equally barren relationship. We get the impression that here is a man who’s achieved great material success but is now all too aware of the yawning spiritual void at his feet. And therein lies the film’s central enigma; is this the story of one world weary man’s attempt to reboot his priorities by drawing upon his earliest recollections of faith and wonder? or is it all but a momentary flash before the eyes of a wandering soul journeying towards that ultimate light? Awash with soaring arias and portentous visions of parting clouds and swirling galaxies, Malick examines the endless cycle of life and death and life through a curious admixture of Darwinian realism and Judeo-Christian allegory which give rise to some striking scenes; a host of proto-planets silhouetted against a newborn star, a mortally wounded plesiosaur awaiting death on a Cretaceous beach, and a young child swimming through an underwater nursery on his way to being born. Some critics have dismissed The Tree of Life as being pretentious and overly ambitious, and I can’t completely disagree with them. But unlike the clinical austerity of Kubrick’s vision (still my sentimental favourite) there is an underlying sense of humility to Malick’s film, as if all the trials and tribulations of one human family pale to insignificance when set against the majestic universe in which they’re suspended.