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The Tree of Life

A movie directed by Terrence Malick

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'The Tree Of Life' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says Bravo To Malick's Brilliant Masterpiece (Video)

  • May 26, 2011
The Big Bang...Creation...Evolution...God...Religion...Life...Death...Family...These are the themes that Terrence Malick addresses in his brilliant new film, 'The Tree Of Life'. 

In my humble opinion, this is one of the most original films in cinematic history.  It is also a film that will divide people...Some will absolutely hate it, some will be angered by it and some like myself, will absolutely love it.  

For almost one hour into this film none of the actors on screen speak to one another. You hear them only in voice over. Their voices bleed into the soaring classical orchestral score. They say a word, a sentence...a whisper. 

 We see the beautiful face of Mrs O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) Mr. O'Brien (Brad Pitt)...Their three young boys; Jack (Hunter McCracken), R.L. (Laramie Eppler) and Steve (Tye Sheridan) ...

There's the sound of the wind and the moving pictures...the sun,  rustling trees, a hand, faces, a family...a life and a death.  The mother cries out, 'Lord, why? Where are you?' and What are we to you?"

And then...Another symphony of sounds and the screen fills with a spectacular light show...A loud blast in the cosmos, volcanic explosions, fire and water, creation, one cell, then two...They multiply... organisms...jellyfish and the dinosaurs.  Evolution...

And then we're back to the O'Brien's.  They live in a small Texas town and it's the 1950"s.  Mr. O'Brien is a stern, dominareering, ex military man.  One minute he's happily playing with his sons, the next he explodes at them.  Brad Pitt gives one of his finest performances as this complex man.  We can feel the rage inside of him even when he's smiling.  His wife is serene, loving, forgiving...Mrs. O'Brien is the epitome of grace...

The film moves back and forth in time.  In the present, Jack (Sean Penn) is a successful, disillusioned  architect.   He is a lost soul in this modern world filled with metal skyscrapers.  We hear snippets of his thoughts (also in voice over) He begins to recall memories from childhood.  He tries to understand his complicated relationship with his father...His mother's unconditional love and his brother's untimely death.  Jack is searching for the existence of faith.

 What makes Jack's story so extraordinary is that it's played out within the vast beauty of the universe.  His human struggles become part of the cosmos vast creative and destructive powers.  Ultimately, Jack  begins to sense his connection to everything that's ever existed and his own destiny.

 This is a film about memory...childhood memory set against the creation of the cosmos. While I was watching 'The Tree Of Life', I kept thinking that this movie is like a poem...a beautiful, emotionally moving poem set to images that you see in the finest impressionistic paintings. 

Ultimately the film is about love...How love emerges from life and life emerges from love.

'Tree Of Life' opens in theaters Friday, May 27. 2011.  The 'Two Jews On Film' gave this film a very different bagel rating...Luckily I write the reviews and John doesn't.  We all know how women love to have the last word.  Don't miss it and I'd love to hear how many bagels you'd rate Malick's magnificent epic.
'The Tree Of Life' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says Bravo To Malick's Brilliant Masterpiece (Video) 'The Tree Of Life' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says Bravo To Malick's Brilliant Masterpiece (Video) 'The Tree Of Life' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says Bravo To Malick's Brilliant Masterpiece (Video) 'The Tree Of Life' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says Bravo To Malick's Brilliant Masterpiece (Video)

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June 03, 2011
I read about people either hating or loving it, too. Guess I'll have to watch it to decide. I think I'm going to love it though :)
June 04, 2011
Let us know.
June 08, 2011
You know when I saw the film, right after the screening, they had small index cards to get viewer feedback; thought it was ingenious.
June 08, 2011
June 08, 2011
OR did you review it? I'll read your review if you did
June 08, 2011
Jusr got my answer. I think whether you love it or hate it - the film has an effect on you
June 08, 2011
oh sorry. I saw this at the embarcadero center and after the viewing, people were given index cards to give their reaction to the film. So I put it in as "read at Movie Hype at" I do agree, Love this film or hate it, you will never forget it LOL!! I like John's interpretation heheh
May 27, 2011
I am pumped for this film! great to hear that it was great! any ideas for a badge for this film?
May 27, 2011
Well it had to do with evolution, creation of the earth - the existence of God - family - and it was a masterpiece - Badge - hmmmm We are the World - ugh - way too corny. I think you're much better at the badge thing than I am. You must let me know what you think of this film. Well I'll read your review
June 08, 2011
I like John's comedy two are so sweet! That it? LOL!! I liked this film but I can see why some folks would hate it...
More The Tree of Life reviews
review by . June 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Every New Beginning is Some Other Beginning's End....
When I got out of the theaters for Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life“, every viewer was asked to put their opinion on a piece of paper as to determine audience reaction. It is a film that is very different. Terrence Malick’s writing and direction turns so many components, angles and layers that to appreciate it one either has to be used to a style of non-linear, unconventional storytelling and/or have a profound appreciation for vague, poetic voice-over to tell its …
review by . July 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Evolution vs Eternity: An Odyssey & A Galaxy
The Tree of Life is a good movie. It is a deep one too. It asks many questions and provide no distinctive answers that matter to the world at large except those of our very own. It is also a movie that is a tad too long for many audiences, imho.      The Tree of Life is a movie for many adults but definitely not for children, despite the fact that half its cast is made up of children. When children are not matured enough, asking those very questions asked by the movie can present …
review by . December 10, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    It's but once every few years - and sometimes every few decades - that the great Terrence Malick unleashes another one of his bold, bright, and beautiful cinematic visions onto the world. He unveils each project with great confidence; an attitude that could come off as self-absorbed, pretentious, and indulgent; while others find plenty to admire about the man. He's a quiet fellow, and enjoys keeping to himself; most likely an avid observer of nature, human …
review by . February 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   You may ask yourself why a so late review on The Tree of Life. Aside from some personal matters I have to say that when I had the chance to write it I felt like there's so many things to write about this movie and that a shorter review will not be a fair exposition. Now, someone reminded me that I still have not written any review for this film and I was shocked to realize it so I instantly grabbed my pen and started to scratch my paper.      How do you start …
review by . June 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Malick's Meaning of Life
THE TREE OF LIFE   Written and Directed by Terrence Malick   Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn       Mrs. O’Brien: You’ll be grown before that tree is tall.       THE TREE OF LIFE is a true film experience. Writer/Director, Terrence Malick’s latest opus is an assault of the best kind on your eyes, your ears and your mind. It is mesmerizing from the moment it begins with a pattern of dancing waves …
review by . October 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Tree of Life: On Second Thought
THE TREE OF LIFE Written and Directed by Terrence Malick Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn      Mrs. O'Brien: You'll be grown before that tree is grown.   Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE is the most polarizing film I’ve seen in ages. It was widely reported that plenty of patrons walked out and angrily demanded their money back while just as many fans vehemently defended it, proclaiming the film a modern masterpiece. In fact, this …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Like a finely orchestrated piece of music, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is a film that challenges the power of description. It is, paradoxically, his most simple and most challenging work; rather than appeal to the logical desires of the mind – discernable plot, archetypal characters, a clear beginning, middle and end – he relies heavily on visual symbolism, creative editing, and meditative dialogue, most of which is internal. …
Quick Tip by . January 03, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I decided after 4 attempts not to try to review the movie, it's too overwhelming in both good and bad ways to stay a manageable review. I do have to say it is similar in structure to 2001 and the other Malick movies: The New Worls and The Thin Red Line. And as an amateur photographer I can say that the movie has photographers in mind more than casual movie-goers expecting an exciting plot.
Quick Tip by . July 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
It is what each of us takes away that makes it a powerful film. The highest evolution about humans and its relevance to the planet are being portrayed and yet it also hints of the end. Did I enjoy it?      Yes. But, I wish it's slightly shorter ;-) Sensory overload & emotionally explosive!        
About the reviewer
Joan & John Schwartz ()
Ranked #11
My husband (creator of the cult classic films FACES OF DEATH) andmyself (actress/screenwriter) are ex New Yorkers, see alot of films and usually disagree. So our friends decided that we need a review … more
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About this movie


The Tree of Life is a 2011 American drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or.
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Director: Terrence Malick
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 27 May 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Terrence Malick
Runtime: 138 minutes
Studio: Chockstone Pictures, Cottonwood Pictures, Plan B Entertainment
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