13 comments on “The Tree of Life

  1. Was glad to see this on the list. but…
    I really had a problem with the ending and the last 20 minutes felt uncomfortably like many of the films showing “character resolves conflict and issues with dead dad, mom, brother, younger self”…wandering on the beach through Stephen King type doors in the middle of nowhere; I unfortunately began thinking of “Contact” and “Field of Dreams” and how the ending resolution actually suffered in comparison with the Costner masterwork.
    That being said, this film haunted me. After seeing it in the local art theater, after a couple weeks I began wanting to see it again. Sadly, not many folks agreed, and I had to wait for the DVD which I’ve now watched twice more. It has definitely become one of my favorites of the year. The technical aspects alone are just astonishing and watching The Tree of Life truly ends up being like watching a tone poem. The adult performances are excellent…as are those of the children. A special note–having watched Jessica Chastain in “The Help” I am bowled over by her two totally different yet brilliant performances.
    And between this and “Moneyball”, it’s finally time for Brad Pitt’s Oscar.
    Overall, this film is so stunning technically, and so haunting emotionally, that I gladly overlook my discontent with the last 20 minutes. A great film!

    • Ken, I understand your uneasiness about those last 20 minutes of the film. And I agree, this is pretty haunting just after seeing it. I have yet to see Moneyball, but even if Pitt doesn’t win Best Actor, it’s still a good year for him.

  2. Great review. It would have been hard for me to put into words what you said. I am thrilled to see this get nominated! The Academy is a classy group. I’m very interested in watching the nominations I haven’t seen yet! Especially “The Artist” as I think it might come down to these two.

    • Thank you, Taylor! I saved this review back a few months ago, just knowing that Tree of Life would get the nomination.
      As of now, I do believe The Artist is a front runner, but I have yet to see all the nominees.

  3. So does this mean we are getting 9 more reviews from The Best Picture Project? Sweet.

    This is a very divisive film, but I’m on the same side as you. A great movie as long as you open yourself up to it. I like what you said about people mistaking Brad Pitt as a villain. That’s something I keep hearing people say, which is incredibly simplistic. Though honestly, I found young Jack to be a little snot sometimes.

  4. My favorite movie of the year so far. Good write-up! Very happy that this was recognized…I think history will look kindly on this nomination.

    Off topic, I just watched Pygmalion tonight (I recently started going on this same journey you took) and noticed it’s not in your list for 1938! You should definitely seek it out, I thought it was very good!

      • Glad you found Pygmalion, Aaron, but it is under 1938. Just the second page.

        So good to see so many people loved The Tree of Life. The Academy already left 2001: A Space Odyssey off the Best Picture nominations, very happy they didn’t make the same mistake here.

  5. apart from all the right things that were mentioned in Alison’s great review and the comments, one thing I find odd: that this film is as successful as it is. It is a great piece of art, and profound in its way, and provocative etc. etc. All this usually means that nobody will see it. But Malick managed to sell this to the audience! This film owes a lot to the contemplative cinema of Tarkovsky and – how sad to say that today of all days – Angelopoulos, yet those never managed to lure so many people into the theatres… This is just a stunning and great phenomenon! My notes on “The Tree of Life”: http://thomas4cinema.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/the-tree-of-life-terrence-malick-2011/.

    • Thomas, I was also surprised how well The Tree of Life did at the box office. I think making Brad Pitt and Sean Penn a big part of the marketing campaign helped.

  6. Really interesting review Alyson. It is funny that I have had this on DVD for a while and still haven’t watched it despite so many positive reviews. I think I just have to be in the right mood…but then again…what is the right mood for Tree of Life? Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and go for it.

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