The Tree of Life Review

The Tree of Life Review

The Tree of Life Review

Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Director: Terrence Malick
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Running Time: 138 minutes

Synopsis: From director Terrence Malick comes a thought provoking film experience. His fifth film, The Tree of Life, is a hymn to life, excavating answers to the most haunting and personal human questions through a kaleidoscope of the intimate and the cosmic, from the raw emotions of a family in a small Texas town to the wildest, infinite edges of space and time, from a boy's loss of innocence to a man's transforming encounters with awe, wonder and transcendence.

An impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's, 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. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

Verdict: What is the meaning of life? Who are we? What lies at the edge, the end of it all, are we merely figures of imagination? Are we alone?
The Tree Of Life is certainly a "thought provoking film experience" that takes audiences on a visionary journey of a boy's life discovery. The Tree Of Life is based around the story of Jack, the eldest son in a 1950's American family.

Protagonist, Jack (played by Sean Penn) travels through his memory of a biblical boyhood while audiences watch as he reflects; memories of an uncertain relationship with his father (Brad Pitt) at the forefront. Jack showcases his father as a demanding disciplinary man who reprimands childhood innocence and encourages his son to be 'tough' and strive for obedience and in order to find strength in life. Through Jack's eyes we witness loss for the first time, we feel grief and experience his pain with the overwhelming sentiment the things are much greater than us in life. His conscience struggles with his destiny- not yet about to understand the concept of control; how much do we have in life? How much do we want? And, how much do we actually need?

Although The Tree Of Life is set in 1950, it is not your typical period piece; its message is universally understood. To try and capture the meaning of life, let alone understand it is a colossal task, a task that director Terrence Malick tackles gracefully. His visceral cinematic voyage challenges and excites you and often enlightens you. 'The Tree Of Life' evokes reflection, implores you to remember; to question wondrously with no expectation of an answer. Images upon images bombard the screen like a series of natural vignettes; sweeping desert planes, rolling waterfalls, an eclipse, a volcano exploding; nature exposed.

The audience is invited to ponder, to follow a family's life journey between the spaces of time; birth and death. We journey with them though fragments of reality and illusion but always we are safe in the hands of fine actors; Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and stand out young Hunter McCracken.

To watch 'The Tree Of Life' is to observe cinematic beauty, orchestrated to compel.At the root of it all what has become of your tree of life?
-Katya Hone

Release Date: June 30th, 2011