The Tree of Life


The Tree of Life is a song to the human, to the world, to time. It is a sweeping, swooning roller-coaster through the moments that make us alive, the blades of grass that whisper to our fingertips, the ancient stairway that we stumble blindly upward upon.

Terrence Malick, who had been building to these heights of fractured, sweeping gusts of emotion with eddies and swirls evident in his previous four films (spanning four decades), has acheived a magnum opus that defines, in many ways, the feeling of being human.

It's not a film for everyone- in nearly every conventional sense it's not even a film to begin with. The 'narrative' begins by focusing on a family dealing with loss, and as they find themselves unraveled by their own mortality, The Tree of Life blinks and recollects the dawn of time and the universe itself.

But it's a natural shift- the poetry of every frame of Emmanuel Lubezki's artful cinematography, Alexandre Desplat's operatic tone-poem of a score, the affecting, naturalistic performances, and Malick's trademark sparse, rapturous dialogue perform a remarkable feat of parralax.


Suddenly the lines on our palms and the cooling stretches of magma in our planet's infancy seem to have patterns in common. A moment of forgiveness between brothers echoes a passing moment of tenderness between dinosaurs.

When the film returns to our era, it's ready to embrace the conflicts that make us both tortured and beautiful.

A special mention should also be made for VFX GUY's astonishing, largely hand-made visual effects, as well as all five (!) editors that pieced together the scraps and movements and breezes that comprise every moment of this film.

But it's Terrence Malick's unmistakable vision, the movie he's been making all along. A joyous ode that manages to be spiritual without being religious, to be deeply personal and yet as universal as it gets.

Go see it.

1 Response to "The Tree of Life"

  1. On most levels, this is an absolute masterpiece.

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