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Genre Drama
Running Time 138 min
MPAA rating PG-13
Release Date May 27, 2011
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The Tree of Life

In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack (Hunter McCracken) is one of three brothers growing up as part of the O'Brien family in small-town Texas. Jack has a contentious relationship with his father (Brad Pitt), but gets along well with his beautiful mother (Jessica Chastain). As an adult, Jack (Sean Penn) struggles with his past and tries to make sense of his childhood, while also grappling with bigger existential issues.

Brad Pitt Mr. O'Brien
Sean Penn Jack
Jessica Chastain Mrs. O'Brien
Fiona Shaw Grandmother
Irene Bedard Messenger
Jessica Fuselier Guide
Hunter McCracken Young Jack
Laramie Eppler R.L.
Tye Sheridan Steve

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Jun 02, 2011 - Austin360.com | Austin American-Statesman - Charles Ealy

Terrence Malick's artistic ambition knows no bounds, and "The Tree of Life" shows just how grand that ambition is.

(Full review)
(no rating) Jun 11, 2011 - aclick on The Tree of Life
Don't Go....

Look at a beautiful painting instead of going to this movie. It will be more inspiring and much less frustrating than sitting for over two hours inundated with one symbolic image after another while trying to figure out the meaning of all of it. There is no thread here. Beautiful images, yes. Wonderful captured moments in nature, too. It could have been a meditation if it hadn't been so confusing. My husband and I appreciate poetry and the beauty of symbolism, but this was overkill. Some of the movie left me feeling a need for prozac; the remainder of the minutes, I was twitching in my seat wishing something would happen one minute, and the next, thinking about getting a refund.

Jun 07, 2011 - moherring on The Tree of Life
"The Tree of Life" is a film but should have been a movie

The Tree of Life is a film, not a movie. Films make you work harder than movies. Some movies are also films. If it wins a Best Picture Oscar it’s usually a hybrid. Movies that aren’t films hardly ever win. Films win Oscars but not usually for Best Picture.

If the audience rating is high but critics hated it, it’s definitely a movie. If the critic rating is higher than the audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes it might be a film.

If it’s a trivia question in a bar, it’s probably a movie. If it’s a trivia question on Jeopardy it might be a film.

If the wordless parts are car chases it’s a movie. If the wordless parts are ethereal looking women looking at trees, it might be a film.

If things blow up, it’s a movie. If cosmos blow up, it might be a film.

If it provides comic relief even if it’s a drama, it’s a movie. If it has absolutely no sense of humor it might be a film.

If the action is linear and the flashbacks are clearly marked, it’s a movie. If you have to figure out whether it’s real or not, it might be a film.

If the backstory and flashbacks support the plot it’s a movie. If the backstory and flashbacks are the plot, it might be a film.

If you have to figure out the theme from the story, it’s a movie. If you have to figure out the story from the theme which is also the tagline, it might be a film.

If the narration provides practical wisdom and explains things that would have made it longer, it’s a movie. If the introspective narration and wordless montages provide cosmic insight and make the movie longer, it might be a film.

I think I would have liked "The Tree of Life" better as a movie or a hybrid. When the ideas are already so profound it takes a movie to make it approachable. When simple ideas need to be made profound, then make it film.

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