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The Tree of Life (2011) Poster

Quotes

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Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.

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Young Jack: [voice over] Where were You? You let a boy die. You let anything happen. Why should I be good ? When You aren't.

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Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.

[silence]

Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] Do good to them. Wonder. Hope.

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Prologue: [on screen, unspoken] "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:4,7

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Father Haynes: He is in God's hands, now.

Mrs. O'Brien: He was in God's hands the whole time. Wasn't he?

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Young Jack: [voice over] I didn't know how to name You then. But I see it was You. Always You were calling me.

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Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] The nuns taught us there are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow. Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it, too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it, when love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you. Whatever comes.

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Young Jack: [voice over] What I want to do, I can't do. I do what I hate.

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Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] Lord, Why? Where were you? Did you know what happened? Do you care?

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Mr. O'Brien: Toscanini once recorded a piece sixty five times. You know what he said when he finished? "It could be better." Think about it. Think about it. Twenty-seven patents your father had. It means ownership, ownership of ideas. You gotta sew 'em up. Get them by the nuts if you pardon my French.

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Father Haynes: Do you trust in God? Job too, was close to the Lord. Are your friends and children, your security? There is no hiding place in all the world where trouble may not find you. No one knows when sorrow might visit his house, any more than Job did. At the very moment everything was taken away from Job. He knew it was the Lord who had taken it away.

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Young Jack: [voice over] Mother. Make me good. Brave.

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Jack: [voice over] I see me as a child... I see my brother. True. Kind. He died when he was 19.

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Young Jack: [on camera] Help me not answer my dad... Help me not to get dogs in fights... Help me to be thankful for everything I've got...

[whispered voice over]

Young Jack: Where do You live?

[on camera]

Young Jack: Help me not to tell lies.

[whispered voice over]

Young Jack: Are You watching me? I want to know what You are. I want to see what You see.

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Mr. O'Brien: You are not to call me "Dad". You will only call me "Father".

Young Jack: But...

Mr. O'Brien: Don't interrupt!

Young Jack: But you do...

Mr. O'Brien: Don't interrupt!

Young Jack: It's your house. You can kick me out whenever you want to. You'd like to kill me wouldn't you.

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Mr. O'Brien: Be rich. You make yourself what you are. You have control of your own destiny. Can't say I can't. You see I'm having trouble. I'm not done yet. Can't say I can't.

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[last lines]

Mrs. O'Brien: [voice-over] I give him to you. I give you my son.

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Mrs. O'Brien: [pointing to the sky] That's where God lives!

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Mr. O'Brien: Your mother's naive. It takes fierce will to get ahead in this world. If you're good, people take advantage of you.

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Mrs. O'Brien: Light of my life. I search for you.

Mrs. O'Brien: My hope. My child.

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Father Haynes: Job imagined he might build his nest on high. That the integrity of his behavior would protect him against misfortune. And his friends thought mistakenly that the Lord could only have punished him because secretly he had done something wrong. But no. Misfortune befalls the good as well. We can't protect ourselves against it. We can't protect our children. We can't say to ourselves, even if I'm not happy, I'm going to make sure they are. We run before the wind, we think that it will carry us forever. It will not. We vanish as a cloud, we whither as the autumn grass. And like a tree, are rooted up.

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Mr. O'Brien: [voice over] I wanted to be loved cause I was great, a Big Man. Now I'm nothing. Look. The glory around... trees, birds... I dishonored it all and didn't notice the glory. A foolish man.

[on camera]

Mr. O'Brien: They're closing the plant. I was given this choice: no job or transfer to a job nobody wants.

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Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] Where were You?

[silence]

Mrs. O'Brien: [voice over] Did You know ?

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Young Jack: [voice over] Dad.

[on camera]

Young Jack: Why was he born ?

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Mr. O'Brien: The world lives by a trigger. If you want to succeed, you can't be too good!

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Mrs. O'Brien: What are we to you?

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Father Haynes: Is there some fraud in the scheme of the universe? Is there nothing which is deathless? Nothing, which does not pass away? We cannot stay where we are. We must journey forth. We must find that which is greater than fortune or fate. Nothing can bring us peace, but that.

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Young Jack: [voice over] How do I get back? To where they are.

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Father Haynes: He saught that which is eternal. As he alone see God's hand, who sees that he gives? Or does not also the one see God's hand, who sees that he takes away? Or does he alone see God, who sees God turn his face towards him? Does not also he see God, who sees God turn his back?

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Jack: [voice over] Brother. Keep us. Guide us. To the end of time.

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Mr. O'Brien: [voice over] You're all I have. You're all I want to have. You're a sweet boy.

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R.L.: Tell us a story from before we can remember.

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Mrs. O'Brien: Come here!

Young Jack: NO! I'm gonna do what I want to do, and you let him walk all over you.

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Young Jack: She only loves ME!

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[first lines]

Jack: [in a whisper] Brother. Mother. It was they who led me to your door.

[choir singing dirge]

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Young Jack: I am sorry. You are my brother.

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Jack: How did you come to me? In what shape? What disguise? I see the child I was. I see my brother. True. Kind.

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Young Jack: Father... Mother... Always you wrestle inside me. Always you will.

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Mr. O'Brien: You know Jack, all I ever wanted for you was to make you strong and grow up and be your own boss. Maybe I've been tough on you. I'm not proud of that.

Young Jack: I'm as bad as you are. I'm more like you than her.

Mr. O'Brien: It was about all I've done in life, otherwise I've drawn a zilch. You're all I have, you're all I want to have. My sweet boy.

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Jack: How did I lose you? Wandered. Forgot you.

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Mrs. O'Brien: You'll be grown before that tree is tall.

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Title Card: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? -Job 38:4-7

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