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The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy | 17 May 2011 (France)
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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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1,064 ( 86)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 106 wins & 112 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Laramie Eppler ...
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Grandmother
Jessica Fuselier ...
Guide
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Architect
Kelly Koonce ...
Bryce Boudoin ...
Robert
Jimmy Donaldson ...
Jimmy
Kameron Vaughn ...
Cayler
Cole Cockburn ...
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 May 2011 (France)  »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida  »

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As with The New World (2005), Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki laid down a series of parameters (a dogma) to be used throughout the film:
  • Shoot in available natural light.


  • Do not underexpose the negative. Keep true blacks.


  • Preserve the latitude of the image.


  • Seek maximum resolution and fine grain.


  • Seek depth with deep focus and stop: "Compose in depth."


  • Shoot in backlight for continuity and depth.


  • Use negative fill to avoid light sandwiches (even sources on both sides)


  • Shoot in crosslight only after dawn or before dusk; never front light.


  • Avoid lens flares.


  • Avoid white and primary colors in frame.


  • Shoot with short focal length, hard lenses.


  • No filters, except Polarizer.


  • In the eye of the hurricane, shoot with steady handheld or Steadicam.


  • Z-axis moves instead of pans and tilts.


  • No zooming.


  • Do some static tripod shots "in midst of our haste"


  • Accept the exception to the dogma (a.k.a Article E) - Article E however does not apply underexposure of the negative.


See more »

Goofs

The O'Briens have a fancy ceiling fan with lights attached in their lounge room; these were not available in the '50s. See more »

Quotes

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

Featured in Conan: Annie, Get Your Glock (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Lacrimosa 2
Composed by Zbigniew Preisner
Performed by Elzbieta Towarnicka (soprano) and the Sinfonia Varsovia and the Chór Warszawskiej Opery Kameralnej (as Varsov Chamber Choir)
Conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk
Courtesy of New Music B.V.
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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.


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