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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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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: 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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My first instinct when I have just watched an especially intriguing or impressive film is to reach for the platitudes. Not this time.

I just want to say that this film makes me ask myself a lot of questions, like 'the creation' versus 'the big bang', 'nurture versus nature', how adequately do we communicate? Mostly though, this film left me a bit self-conscious; for 'not really getting it'. But this is a good thing, when the film also left me desperate to watch it again, when my eldest son returns it to me.

The deafeningly quiet crackle of momentous events in the film make it a bit addictive in my opinion. It seems like there is some kind of divine or celestial counter-balance being weighed against the tragedy of unrealised familial love and adoration. All of this is probably very wide of the mark for all I know. And it doesn't matter.....

Because my reactions to this film are collectively something (as a voracious film buff) I do not remember having experienced before. This film has made its mark on me both emotionally and intellectually. I like that. It's more than I'd hoped for.

One thing I know: if you look at the ratings for this film, it certainly divides opinion. What a convincing curve!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is a very unusual film - on the one hand, beautifully artistic and poignant; and on the other hand, displaying minimalist story-telling and limited character development. It is a very surreal movie, reminiscent of 'Love' (2011) and 'Space Odyssey' (1968) inasmuch as there's very little dialogue - and the characters do very little. It's concerned with thought, feeling and contemplation - and is intended to provoke thoughts and feelings ... At its core, the film is about two parents (played by Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt) who, during the 1950's and 1960's, raise their three children - in a loving but rather authoritarian manner, adhering to Christian traditions. Tragically, one of their sons dies at the age of 19. This loss is devastating, and causes enduring suffering. The movie shifts between the past and the present. And today one of their sons (played by Sean Penn) still mourns the loss. But how such tragedy is depicted is highly unconventional.

The visuals are stunning. It's as if the purpose is to design a piece of art. We see trees blowing in the winds, birds dancing in the air, clouds going past ... And as the mother whispers about her loss to God, asking why her son has been taken, the film embarks on a grand journey. We witness the cosmos in all its grandeur. We see the galaxy, full of stars and nebula. We see the early Earth, being bombarded by meteorites. Volcanoes erupting. Water flowing. And primitive life emerges ... and evolves. We see dinosaurs, and their ultimate extinction. This is the journey life has taken. And to inquire about one life in particular, its meaning and why death has occurred, is a question asked against the backdrop of life in all its radiant entirety.

This is a long film, without a definitive narrative.
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