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The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy | 17 May 2011 (France)
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2:12 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

Terrence Malick

Writer:

Terrence Malick
Popularity
2,186 ( 283)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 112 wins & 117 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Mr. O'Brien
Sean Penn ... Jack
Jessica Chastain ... Mrs. O'Brien
Hunter McCracken ... Young Jack
Laramie Eppler Laramie Eppler ... R.L.
Tye Sheridan ... Steve
Fiona Shaw ... Grandmother
Jessica Fuselier Jessica Fuselier ... Guide
Nicolas Gonda ... Mr. Reynolds
Will Wallace ... Architect
Kelly Koonce Kelly Koonce ... Father Haynes
Bryce Boudoin Bryce Boudoin ... Robert
Jimmy Donaldson Jimmy Donaldson ... Jimmy
Kameron Vaughn Kameron Vaughn ... Cayler
Cole Cockburn Cole Cockburn ... Harry Bates
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 May 2011 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El árbol de la vida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$372,920, 27 May 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,303,319, 23 October 2011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$54,303,319, 27 October 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of several pieces of classical/orchestral music appearing in this movie is "Vltava" (also known by its German name, Die Moldau/The Moldau River), one of a set of six symphonic poems collectively titled "Má vlast" and written by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. This piece also appeared in the trailer for this movie. It may be most familiar to some as the melodic basis for the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikva." 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]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

An extended 189 minute version was released on Blu-Ray and DVD by the Criterion Collection in September 2018. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movies That Are Trying Too Hard (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Troops Advance in Grass
Written and Performed by Francesco Lupica and Lee Scott
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a Discovery Channel special...

Life and death are existence. Existence is a neverending cycle. To be happy you must learn to love everything.

These are perhaps the biggest, most powerful concepts we as humans know. They are also the most commonly regarded ones. So, why bother making a "movie" that has no message beyond what everyone already knows? Life is beautiful (if you allow yourself to see it that way) ... and don't let all that beauty slip by you now! :: shakes pointer finger in front of your face :: Wow. How profound... I've never thought about that before... and I've DEFINITELY never seen a movie that touches base with that concept...

Or wait...

Normally, I am a huge fan of abstract/obscure films that most people consider "art" with atypical progressions, etc. Now a lot of people see this as a piece of art. But to me, it's tough to see it that way because I feel like it has literally no depth whatsoever. What makes "art" art to me is when someone infuses their own creative personality into their project - now, if this is Terrence Mallick's art, then I guess he must just be an incredibly boring person.

Although I found the 2nd half of the film to be stronger than the first, I had an extremely difficult time staying entertained and getting through it. I began growing anxious and impatient due to the repetition and more importantly the pointlessness... now typically i'm into repetition, but only when the repetition has meaning.

In this case, we are forced to watch endless scenes of a small boy playing and/or dealing with his controlling, annoying father. I get it... he's growing up. But why do we care? He's just a regular kid...Nothing interesting is happening in his life. Now I know a lot of people are going to say "that's what he was going for... so people can relate to it", sure, I understand that... but, what is supposed to make it entertaining? What are we supposed to come back to and remember these characters by? Mallick did a great job with the cast, creating characters that are incredibly realistic and believable - but again the main problem to me is that there is absolutely NOTHING INTERESTING happening in these peoples lives. Why do they even deserve to be characters in a movie? The live and die... their life was hard at times, and beautiful at others... yeah, and same with everyone else's. I don't need 2 hours full of shots of the universe being created and little boys playing catch to be reminded that life is beautiful...The concept is boring. It's been done. Overkilled.

Now, of course, the absolute highlight of the film is the breathtaking cinematography, and even more specifically the stuff they captured (however they did is beyond me!) showing the creation of the universe and the development of living beings! Visually, Tree of Life is a marvelous feast but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that is just about ALL it has to offer. If I wanted to watch shots of nature and space, I would just turn on the Discovery Channel.

All kinds of people are comparing this movie to 2001: A Space Odyssey. When Gaspar Noe compared his own film, Enter The Void, to 2001 - I knew I could trust him - no acclaimed director would say that about his own film without reason. Enter The Void lived up to that title - it was beyond a film - it not only had a vicious roller-coaster to ride plotwise, but it was also a psychological and visual experience unlike anything else I had ever seen. Tree of Life felt like visual poetry about life in general that was more so open for interpretation - my interpretation was that it was about nothing at all. A poem without meaning. A measly poem about trees in a gentle breeze on a summer day... an uninspired bore.

The Tree of Life is MAYBE worth watching once for the visuals, but beyond that I would never recommend it to anyone. It certainly does not belong in the same category as profound artful masterpieces on a similar subject such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Enter The Void, or The Fountain. I will continue backing those as the greatest metaphysical films I have ever seen. Tree of Life - maybe you'll be worth turning on in the background at some casual party at a condominium some time...


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