The Tree of Life

May 17th, 2011

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The Tree of Life

Still of Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan in The Tree of LifeStill of Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken and Laramie Eppler in The Tree of LifeSara Forestier at event of The Tree of LifeStill of Sean Penn in The Tree of LifeStill of Brad Pitt and Laramie Eppler in The Tree of LifeStill of Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Tye Sheridan and Laramie Eppler in The Tree of Life

A family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.0/10 (58,196 voted)

Critic's Score: 85/100

Director: Terrence Malick

Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain

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


Official Website: Fox Searchlight [United States] | Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 17 May 2011

Filming Locations: Austin, Texas, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €381,896 (Italy) (22 May 2011) (113 Screens)

Gross: $54,303,319 (Worldwide) (27 October 2011)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Emmanuel Lubezki explained Terrence Malick's approach to film by saying "Photography is not used to illustrate dialogue or a performance" but instead is used "to capture emotion so that the movie is very experiential". So the film, with Lubezki's own words, is "meant to trigger tons of memories, like a scent or a perfume".

Anachronisms: Mrs O'Brien's dish-washing liquid comes in a clear plastic container, was invented after the 50s.

[first lines]
Jack: [voice-over] Brother.

User Review

Thank god it's over... Definitely not for everybody.

Rating: 1/10

I don't expect the majority of viewers to agree with me as it already has a decent rating, but if you searched for people who hated this film then I suspect you will probably dislike it, and I am going to spare you the unfortunate experience I had of going to see it.

Just to state my preferences and for your orientation, I have enjoyed many of the artistic offerings from the IMDb top recommendations, but I prefer my fare more straightforward.

I'll just fly in the face of protocol now and say I had no clue what this film was about. I wanted to leave after 20 minutes but my girlfriend insisted to stay to the end to see what the point was. Other people did leave in the middle of the film and there was a lot of fidgeting going on in the cinema. For the first time in my life I dozed off for a few minutes in a cinema.

There is no plot - only a stream of images following two boys through their childhood and also a flashback to the the creation of the earth. The cinematography was quite impressive but the overall result was oh-so-dull. I am sure there was a point but I just could not be bothered to try to understand it.

Apologies to aficionados. I don't mean to be derogatory about this film. I only want to save some people from sitting through it who would not like it.

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