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The Tree Of Life 2011

The story centres around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

Starring:
Brad Pitt, Sean Penn
Runtime:
2 hours, 18 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Drama, Science Fiction, Indie & Arthouse
Director Terrence Malick
Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn
Supporting actors Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan, Fiona Shaw, Jessica Fuselier, Nicolas Gonda, Will Wallace, Kelly Koonce, Bryce Boudoin, Jimmy Donaldson, Kameron Vaughn, Cole Cockburn, Dustin Allen, Brayden Whisenhunt, Joanna Going, Irene Bedard, Finnegan Williams
Studio Twentieth Century Fox
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adam VINE VOICE on 12 May 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I took a chance on this film after hearing various bewildered critical responses from cinema goers and critics. At issue seemed to be the sprawling cosmic imagery, intercutting scenes of family drama, with sequences involving dinosaurs being singled out for especial derision.
Still, intrigued, I rented this, and I am incredibly glad that I did.
The film is long and sprawling, and you are put in the mind frame for the human wrestling the transcendent straightaway, with a quote from the Book of Job, the voice of God, no less;
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the world..."
The film unfolds at a searching, meditative pace, but we go straight to intense human drama, with the O'Brien family receiving news of the death of a son. The action then rewinds, through the mind's eye of Sean Penn's middle aged architect reflecting on his boyhood with this family, and the character of the mother (Jessica Christian) reflecting on the twin paths of 'Grace' and 'Nature.'
The interplay between the sons and the parents in the America of their day (50's Texas) is the human drama of the film. The mother is all gentleness and grace, but with steel too. The father (an impressive Brad Pitt), authoritarian and wounded, is scarred into an oppressive attitude to his boys by what he sees as the merciless, Darwinian struggle of life.
The Sean Penn character, as a boy, grows and rebels, increasingly testing his father. There are also landmark events that further underscore the frightening side of life. The drowning of a boyhood friend is a particularly chilling and effective example of this, with the grotesque suddenness and splintering horror of it breaking in when least expected to a carefree community event.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The difference between Art and Entertainment is that Art demands something of the viewer. This is a very demanding film and many have refused the demand. For those who do respond it rewards with a new narrative style, visual beauty, and profound (and challenging) theological insight into the value and cost of human life. I have shown this movie 14 times to friends and still cannot take my eyes from the screen.
Chastain glows and Pitt gives his best ever performance, achingly true,
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have a cautious love for this film. An oddity in some ways, seeking to place the story of one family and their regrets in the context of the beginning of existence and the eventual end of the world. Majestically shot, superbly acted, but perhaps Malick could have placed the very important dialogue (of which there is not that much in the whole film) a bit higher in the mix. Subtitles helped me out here in a way that people who saw the film in the cinema weren't blessed with. With great art comes the risk of great pretentiousness and this is certainly a film that walks the tightrope between the two.Which side of the tightrope you fall off and land in will be very much about who, and how reflective you are.
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Format: DVD
The Tree of Life a mixture of dreamy reverie that Malick does so well and grim kitchen sink realism that’s never before featured in his films as far as I’m aware. I found the dreamy symbolic passages quite brilliant – as good as I’ve ever seen on film.

The other stuff, which concerns a grim family situation in 1950s Texas, was excellent in its own right. Brad Pitt was terrific as the tyrannical father and Jessica Chastain was quite gorgeous though, of course, playing the stereotypically submissive wife. The boys who played the sons were also excellent.

However, the family story was too long and drawn out and certainly if one were watching it in the cinema it would be quite an ordeal for both mind and backside. If Malick had edited this part of the film and cut about 30 minutes from it he would still have had a decent length 100 minute feature film and probably a masterpiece.

But sure there’s no talking to these genius types.
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Format: DVD
Well, where do you start with a Terence Malick film (particularly a recent one)? To me, he's rather like Lars von Trier (oh no, I've upset two camps now). As with many von Trier films, The Tree Of Life has some brilliant moments and is a film whose impact (and appeal?) I suspect may well grow on repeat viewings (this is true for me after two 'gos') .... and yet does it hang together enough (and, at least as importantly, engage the viewer for what is a duration pushing two and a half hours)? For me, probably not.

Of course, the film is impressive as purely a sensorial experience. Its mix of an intimate story of a Texan family, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain's Mr and Mrs O'Brien (the former a domineering 'devout businessman', the latter a (mostly)subservient 'automaton') and their young sons, and surreal story spanning the 'ages of man' give plenty of opportunity for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki to display his virtuosity (though its initial efforts to 'do a 2001' are, for me, badly misjudged, and its 'Jurassic Park moments', at best, merely superfluous and gratuitous). Similarly, Malick's use of music is generally impressive, with particular favourites for me being the stunning opening bars of Mahler's 1st Symphony, followed (in short order) by some (for me, unidentified) sublime choral music.

Acting-wise, I would say Malick's film is 'solid'. For me, Pitt's performance has been over-rated (it's not a patch on his turn in The Assassination Of Jesse James, for example) and to give equal 'star billing' to Sean Penn's '10 minute cameo' is rather disingenuous. Of the adults, I found Chastain the most impressive as the stoic, put-upon wife who eventually reaches the end of her tether.
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