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The Tree of Life

The Tree Of Life

The Tree Of Life

The Tree of Life is an enthralling arts film which held me captive from the first whispers through the 2 hours and 20 minutes of playing time.   It drew my husband in to come and sit and watch it even though he missed the first 30 minutes.

I heard about The Tree of Life months ago on Sam Juliano’s Monday Morning Diary on Wonders in the Dark and I was so drawn to his descriptions that I wanted to see it.  It was playing in the big City at an art’s theater but not anywhere close.   I attempted to get the local cinema to run it and had 35 folks call the theatre to ask for a showing.

It came out on DVD about Thanksgiving time in the USA, and I put in an order with my mailbox delivery group.    I was not disappointed when it arrived and I was very happy to have been able to watch it a number of times.   I think it would be spectacular on the big screen – although if you sat next to a noisy eater one would miss much of the opening of the movie – one’s own chewing would interfere with the whispers of sound that are so dramatic and enhancing.

The photography is amazing from all the flow of water to the birds in flight, and the videos of nature play out in lovely fashion as the movie captures a young boy’s life and energies.

There were several moments when I remembered  2001 a Space Odyssey.

If we humans are 98% energy in the form of water, then the metaphors and symbolism in this movie are not only dramatically beautiful but they emphasize the connections of all of life.  One wonders how the author and director could have put so much creativity and honesty into a depiction of life – how could all that flow from one person?   Outstanding movie, this THE TREE OF LIFE.

Netflix says about this film:

The Tree of LIFE.  Brad Pitt and Sean Penn star in Terrence Malick’s 1950s adventure about a confused man named Jack, who sets off on a journey to understand the true nature of the world.  Growing up in the Midwest with two brothers, Jack has always been torn between his mother’s guidance to approach everything he encounters with an open heart and his father’s advice to look after his own interests.  Now, Jack must find a way to regain purpose and perspective.

I understand that this film has been nominated for a number of awards already.  I joyfully give it a 5 ladybug rating and hope all of you will make the opportunity to see this film.  It is rated PG-13.  I have added it to my book group’s list for the spring discussion and will recommend it to my own family. This student of life and philosophy thoroughly enjoyed this movie.


Do you have a movie to recommend for an award?  Do you often watch arts movies?  Are you drawn to creative expression?

Related Reading:
The Tree of Life (WondersInTheDark)
Temple Grandin
The Element

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s or Google Ads, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. No one paid me or provided any compensation for reviewing this movie and I rented the movie on my own.

If you enjoyed reading here you might enjoy reading at my other sites The Biking Architect and Wise Ears also.

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13 Responses to “The Tree of Life”

  1. Talon Says:

    I’ve heard about this film and look forward to watching it – even more so after reading your review, Patricia!

    Patricia Reply:

    I think I might warn you that I talked to several people today who walked out of the theatre after about 20 minutes…it is very artistic and beautiful photography and graphic…not a very linear story, but I think with you great eye, writing skill and photography you will not have a problem with it.

    Thank you for your good words.

  2. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sounds a fascinating movie to see .. I’ll have to get it on DVD sometime .. or wait and see it on tv .. when I get to the point of having digital tv! Very interesting .. I see a lot of arts movies .. and do enjoy them though they are not necessarily entertaining – but boy are they educational. So thanks for this .. and hope your Christmas preparations are being as simple as possible – to save you acres of work .. cheers for now – Hilary
    Hilary recently posted..The Christmas A – Z has come early …My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    This movie is beautiful art and photography tell a story of a very confused boy – it is about dualism required when we are all one

    I was so happy I could see it several times – what drew my partner in was the music

    It is a tough story but beautifully told

    I was able to see it on DVD, I need some other technology to be able to stream something this huge with quality.

    I think you will like it.

    It did not come to my town at all, but the little arts theatre is going to attempt to get it for a showing soon.

  3. Brittany Says:

    Cool sounds like a great movie! I like what Netflix has to say about the film, sounds like something inspirational that I’d like to watch. I’ll probably rent it on DVD sometime. Hope you’re doing well! :)
    Brittany recently posted..Successfully Shy: Sharing Her Story and Helping OthersMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    It was a beautiful movie and I was so happy to have several folks to discuss it with and I put it on my book group list for April – 3 movies instead of reading a book – I haven’t picked the third movie yet. Creation is #1 and Tree of Life is #2 many have already seen Temple Grandin…so I am keeping my eyes open for another one.

    I understand Meryl Streep in Iron Lady – coming out Dec20th,2011 is really something else. And I am hoping to see Hugo and The Descendants too before I make my decisions…

    I am doing well and getting ready to take a week off and spend time – all my kiddos are headed home for parts of the week – I will be very busy and want to just enjoy time with them

    Happy Holidays to you too

  4. Sam Juliano Says:

    How thrilling is this Patricia???

    I have seen nearly 200 movies in theatres in 2011, and I am preparing to name this masterpieces as my #1 film in two weeks when i publish my Top 10 (or 20) at WitD. You have captured here it’s beauty and it’s essence, and I offer you applause for finding the artistry behind what for some was a most difficult proposition.Not at a loss for words with this post R.D., (ha!) I will say that The Tree of Life will inspire serious debate among cineastes for decades to come. It’s one of those rare films that has you thinking days after with the same veracity that dominated your consciousness in the hours immediately following the experience. It’s a towering work by a towering artist, and it will likely exaserbate as many as it will enthrall. It’s a metaphorical voyage into the outer recesses of memory, faith and the infinite that requires far more than the logistics of order and logic. The Tree of Life is both elusive and accessible, vague and lucid, real and surreal. Its a film about the loss of faith and the renewel of belief. Malick has mustered up the audacity to survey the cycle of life and it’s origins, and we can only look on riveted and enthralled on a level one rarely experiences within the confines of a movie theatre.

    The simpler scenes have a haunting and resounding power, and young Hunter McCracken is extraordinary, giving what I consider that best performance by a lead actor this year. The shape of The Tree of Life is more attuned to a symphony in music than it is to a story arc in literature. This is partly as a result of Malick wanting to express himself in “movements” where each evokes moods and textures, but are unquestionably tied to the larger whole of the work, where he intends everything to come full circle. Again recalling Kubrick, the director places music as the vital component to replace dialogue in enhancing his visuals with the proper aural accompaniment to bring his entrancing ideas to full fruition. Among other notable composers, Malick, echoing 2001: A Space Odyssey makes superlative use of Brahams, Gorecki, Berlioz, Bach, Holst and Mahler, which he apparently instructed Alexandre Desplat to incorporate into his own score. The sublime choral passages underline the film’s extraordinary second act, when Malick envisions the dawn of the universe include Zbigniew Preisner’s sublime “Lacrimosa” and give the film a spiritual undercurrent that oddly meshes with the astronomical truths that have always negated theological doctrine. After a planetarium-like showcase of the galaxies in flux, Malick moves back to earth and the prehistoric era, where he captures a cruel act that will later parallel the human clashes in his twentieth centry story. Further, the human fetus in the mother’s womb is a microcosm of evolution, where millions of years are compressed into a few months. There are subsequently long stretches of silence evinced in a visual holding pattern that will allow viewers to ponder the serious questions that are rarely posed in narrative films. In keeping with the central theme couched in the film’s title, Malick aims his camera up trunks to the loftiest branches and green leaves and beyond into the sky. Basically he takes up where he left off in The New World in bringing visual adornment to the the central symbol in all it’s awe-spiring and majestic beauty.

    Again a very great choice with a very great review in support. I am on Cloud None!

  5. Sam Juliano Says:

    Needless to say too Pat, thanks so very much for the acknowledgement!!!
    Sam Juliano recently posted..Film as a Subversive Art: Hallucinations, Bells of Atlantis, Aos • (Fixing a Hole: Avant-Garde Month)My Profile

    patricia Reply:

    It was the least I could do – I am in your debt

  6. patricia Says:

    Sam Juliano,
    I thought you might like this! :) and my book group will enjoy your fine words too. What an analysis- thank you dearly.

    I had to watch the film several times and I still did not glean all that your trained eye captured.

    I have had several folks tell me they got up and left the theater that it was not their cup of tea….the music just drew me in and my partner….it is an astounding work of art and life lesson.

    Thank you for your kind and generous words.

    I told you I would track this down and see it because of your original review; it took me awhile but I am so happy I persevered.

  7. rob white Says:

    Haha. This one just came in the mail through my Netflix! I have not watched it yet but am looking forward to it even more so now. I will let you know how I like it
    rob white recently posted..Tolstoy’s Story of the Three SaintsMy Profile

  8. patricia Says:

    Let me know for sure how you like it – very different Please come back and read Sam Juliano’s words too…

    I would like to watch it again

  9. Yuretc Says:

    A curiosity about Hoover in general makes me want to go, but I wonder if reading a book about him might be a better option.

    Thanks as always for your insight, Yuretc.