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 finally...to 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.
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 … more
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 … more
**** 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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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. … more
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.
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!
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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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.