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The Tree of Life

Country: USA

Genre: Drama



The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. 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.


Picture for The Tree of Life


BoyActors Reviews

10 member reviews/ratings for this Movie

Average Rating: Blue StarBlue StarBlue StarBlue StarBlue StarBlue StarBlue Star (7.90 / 10)

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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 8 / 10
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It is difficult to 'review' this film, since, for me, this is an astonishing artistic masterpiece. The basic premise can be easily stated: haunted by his ongoing grief at the death of his brother, the adult Jack (Sean Penn) recalls his boyhood in the 1950s, but from a vast cosmic perspective stretching over thousands of millions of years. In its scope and imaginative vision, and its broader philosophical and spiritual themes, this movie invites comparison with Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968). But whereas "2001" is dominated by its awe-inspiring science fiction ideas and hardly ever descends to the human scale, "The Tree of Life" is dominated by a human drama set within its wider context. Does this cosmic perspective diminish man? To me, it has rather the opposite effect. The splendour of the stage on which man enacts his little drama somehow makes this drama seem all the more significant - lends it some of its own splendour. The voiceover is characterised by a series of questions without answers. The universe is presented as ultimately mysterious. Humans are condemned to having mere fragments, confusing pieces of a jigsaw, but with no ability to see the complete picture. In the sandbar sequence at the end, there is the hope that nevertheless the human story makes some kind of overall sense, even if we, in our lives, are unable to comprehend it. Although the family portrayed in the film attends a Christian church, there is no mention in the voiceover, and no suggestion in the sequence of images, of the specifically Christian God, the God who revealed himself in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (though there is nothing specifically to contradict this either). Instead, the God to whom questions are addressed in this film is remote, inscrutible, in some sense ultimately unknowable, making the quote from Job at the start of the movie particularly apposite. There is so much to think about in this film, that it would take a considerable volume, I think, to unravel the various strands. Suffice to say that all the actors are wonderful, and the boy actors who play the three brothers (Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan) are unutterably superb. An essential film to watch and to re-watch.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 10 / 10
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Epic, sprawling and potentially depressing, it's worth a view but only when prepared for 3 hours of artistic views and soul searching.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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This is one of those movies that seems to require more than one viewing. It can be described as highly sophisticated or bordering on what I call the 'arty-farty'. The photography is superb and the acting, especially of Hunter McCracken, really good more so considering this is his debut movie. I cannot believe that a boy actor of such obvious talent has only made one film. However, 'The Tree of Life's symbolism is sometimes absurd and the most notable scene, I think, is when the meek mother interrupts the authoritarian and, quite frankly near nutcase, father at the dinner table and tells him to "Be quiet". The film ends rather abruptly as many 'arty' films have a tendency to do. Unfortunately, my DVD has no extras so I haven't any director explanations for the involved plotline.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 21st November 2011
Page Added: 14th November 2011

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