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The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  17 May 2011 (France)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 128,965 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 973 user | 574 critic | 43 from Metacritic.com

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 96 wins & 104 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hunter McCracken ...
Laramie Eppler ...
Jessica Fuselier ...
Kelly Koonce ...
Bryce Boudoin ...
Jimmy Donaldson ...
Kameron Vaughn ...
Cole Cockburn ...


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 (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 May 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida  »

Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$372,920 (USA) (27 May 2011)


$13,303,319 (USA) (21 October 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


VFX supervisor Mike Fink described this film and Voyage of Time (2016) as being "not narratively connected, but thematically complementary pieces." See more »


When Mr. O'Brien receives the terrible news at the beginning of the movie by phone, the camera and camera operator are reflected in the handset. See more »


[first lines]
Jack: [in a whisper] Brother. Mother. It was they who led me to your door.
[choir singing dirge]
See more »


Featured in The 84th Annual Academy Awards (2012) See more »


Harold in Italy
Written by Hector Berlioz
Performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Yoav Talmi
Courtesy of Naxos
By Arrangement with Source/Q 42
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thank god it's over... Definitely not for everybody.
28 May 2011 | by (Poland) – See all my reviews

I don't expect the majority of viewers to agree with me as it already has a decent rating, but if you searched for people who hated this film then I suspect you will probably dislike it, and I am going to spare you the unfortunate experience I had of going to see it.

Just to state my preferences and for your orientation, I have enjoyed many of the artistic offerings from the IMDb top recommendations, but I prefer my fare more straightforward.

I'll just fly in the face of protocol now and say I had no clue what this film was about. I wanted to leave after 20 minutes but my girlfriend insisted to stay to the end to see what the point was. Other people did leave in the middle of the film and there was a lot of fidgeting going on in the cinema. For the first time in my life I dozed off for a few minutes in a cinema.

There is no plot - only a stream of images following two boys through their childhood and also a flashback to the the creation of the earth. The cinematography was quite impressive but the overall result was oh-so-dull. I am sure there was a point but I just could not be bothered to try to understand it.

Apologies to aficionados. I don't mean to be derogatory about this film. I only want to save some people from sitting through it who would not like it.

1,667 of 2,682 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Perhaps the best movie of all time. abominablesnowbat
Where does this film rank on your all-time list? jordanw_182
What this film is all about, why it's hated, and why I love it... adr5500
is Terrence Malick Retarded or just on drugs when he made this one ?? auto78900
Anyone who calls this film visually impressive needs to study science. securejames
One of the most underrated movies of all time maguew_9
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