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The Tree of Life


  1. Directed by: Terrence Malick
  2. Produced by: Dede Gardner
    Sarah Green
    Grant Hill
    Brad Pitt
    Bill Pohland
  3. Written by: Terrence Malick
  4. Music by: Alexandre Desplat
  5. Cinematography by: Emmanuel Lubezki
  6. Editing by: Hank Corwin
    Jay Rabonowtiz
    Daniel Rezende
    Billy Weber
    Mark Yoshikawa
  7. Release Date: 2011
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

The Tree of Life is Terrence Malick’s poem and prayer, a natural theology and a meditation on being-in-the-world, especially as our existence relates to time and God. Its appearance on this list of films about “waking up” could be due to its stunning and enigmatic visuals or its haunting score and use of music, how these allow us to encounter something of the transcendent in the cinematic construct. Yet it is the characters themselves—especially Jack (Sean Penn and Hunter McCracken)—who undergo a transformative experience through the pain and loss of a son and brother, bringing the flood of memories and questions which come with grief. Jessica Chastain's Mrs. O'Brien is the embodiment of grace, a spiritual director and wisdom personified, pointing her sons (and us) to where God lives. Nature and grace, love and justice, light and darkness—I admit, I find it difficult to articulate the immensity of the film’s themes and ideas, all of its mysteries. You simply must let it wash over you like a baptismal flood; to see The Tree of Life, one must be awake and willing to be awakened.

—Joel Mayward


  1. Directed by: Terrence Malick
  2. Produced by: Dede Gardner
    Sarah Green
    Grant Hill
    Brad Pitt
    Bill Pohland
  3. Written by: Terrence Malick
  4. Music by: Alexandre Desplat
  5. Cinematography by: Emmanuel Lubezki
  6. Editing by: Hank Corwin
    Jay Rabonowtiz
    Daniel Rezende
    Billy Weber
    Mark Yoshikawa
  7. Release Date: 2011
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix

The Tree of Life is Terrence Malick’s poem and prayer, a natural theology and a meditation on being-in-the-world, especially as our existence relates to time and God. Its appearance on this list of films about “waking up” could be due to its stunning and enigmatic visuals or its haunting score and use of music, how these allow us to encounter something of the transcendent in the cinematic construct. Yet it is the characters themselves—especially Jack (Sean Penn and Hunter McCracken)—who undergo a transformative experience through the pain and loss of a son and brother, bringing the flood of memories and questions which come with grief. Jessica Chastain's Mrs. O'Brien is the embodiment of grace, a spiritual director and wisdom personified, pointing her sons (and us) to where God lives. Nature and grace, love and justice, light and darkness—I admit, I find it difficult to articulate the immensity of the film’s themes and ideas, all of its mysteries. You simply must let it wash over you like a baptismal flood; to see The Tree of Life, one must be awake and willing to be awakened.

—Joel Mayward

The Tree of Life is Terrence Malick’s poem and prayer, a natural theology and a meditation on being-in-the-world, especially as our existence relates to time and God. Its appearance on this list of films about “waking up” could be due to its stunning and enigmatic visuals or its haunting score and use of music, how these allow us to encounter something of the transcendent in the cinematic construct. Yet it is the characters themselves—especially Jack (Sean Penn and Hunter McCracken)—who undergo a transformative experience through the pain and loss of a son and brother, bringing the flood of memories and questions which come with grief. Jessica Chastain's Mrs. O'Brien is the embodiment of grace, a spiritual director and wisdom personified, pointing her sons (and us) to where God lives. Nature and grace, love and justice, light and darkness—I admit, I find it difficult to articulate the immensity of the film’s themes and ideas, all of its mysteries. You simply must let it wash over you like a baptismal flood; to see The Tree of Life, one must be awake and willing to be awakened.

—Joel Mayward


  1. Directed by: Terrence Malick
  2. Produced by: Dede Gardner
    Sarah Green
    Grant Hill
    Brad Pitt
    Bill Pohland
  3. Written by: Terrence Malick
  4. Music by: Alexandre Desplat
  5. Cinematography by: Emmanuel Lubezki
  6. Editing by: Hank Corwin
    Jay Rabonowtiz
    Daniel Rezende
    Billy Weber
    Mark Yoshikawa
  7. Release Date: 2011
  8. Running Time: 139
  9. Language: English

Clips

  1. A&F Discussion Thread
  2. IMDb.com
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Netflix
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