Unselfish Love: The Tree Of Life (2011)

Unselfish Love: The Tree Of Life (2011)

Fox Searchlight

Release Date (US): 27 May 2011
Certificate: tbc
Running Time: tbc

Writer & Director: Terrence Malick

Cast: Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain

Once every few years or even decades, writer and director Terrence Malick (Badlands, 1973; Days of Heaven, 1978; The Thin Red Line, 1998) hands out a cinematic masterpiece, only to vanish again, for another few years, or even decades. His films are like the concave mirror of a creative power that seldom flashes over the big screen but seems to stay there forever.

The Tree Of Life (2011)Having seen the trailer, The Tree Of Life looks like it might actually “guide us to the end of time”, in beautiful and magical ways despite it being a piece about the loss of innocence. Apparently Malick has added a cosmic dimension to his usually earth-bound style and, although we see the low-angle camera again, created a story that would take us on a journey way beyond our corporeal existence.

At first sight, the story’s message of “unselfish love” (Malick) is anything but unique, and the “Tree Of Life” is a symbol of religious mysticism that has inspired many filmmakers including Aronofsky whose movie The Fountain (2006) has lost nothing of its evocative beauty and has somewhat become a cult movie.

The Tree Of Life (2011)Having said that, Malick just might have added a compelling and modern twist to an ancient tale. Set out as an impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950′s, The Tree Of Life follows the journey of the eldest son Jack from the innocence of childhood to the disenchantment of adulthood (Sean Penn as the grown-up Jack) and his spiritual quest. His parents (Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt) couldn’t be more different, and Jack has to reconcile the views of a pragmatic father (“It takes fierce will to get ahead in this world”) and a soulful mother (“Unless you love, your life will flash by”).

The Tree Of Life (2011)Being “a lost soul in a modern world” (Malick), Jack represents about millions of people in the western civilization, and the search for spiritual grace and re-connection with nature has become more than just a trend. It has turned into a basic human need, under-standable given the times we live in. On this note, Malick’s new film definitely strikes a chord, and I think the way The Tree Of Life is being anticipated six months before its release not only reflects the high expectations of Malick fans, but also the need for a story that seeks basic but seemingly forgotten truths.

Watch the HD trailer in full screen on » iTunes Movie Trailers

Let's talk... » Add your comment!

  1. The Fountain was a masterpiece and I thought there were slight similarities between the two movies from watching the trailer. The big difference being The Fountain is about facing death, while TTOL seems to be about how we should live.

  2. The Fountain was terrible, but hey, it’s Aronofsky. This on the other hand looks fantastic.

  3. The Fountain was a true masterpiece.

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