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). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Written by
The town of Smithville, Texas was chosen because the practical structure houses still mirror the '50s settings required by the film. It is one hour's drive from Austin, Texas with a population of only 4500 people. While the crew was filming there, there was no additional lighting equipment being used and camera equipment was stored at a rented garage. See more »
The O'Briens have a fancy ceiling fan with lights attached in their lounge room; these were not available in the '50s. See more »
[in a whisper]
Brother. Mother. It was they who led me to your door.
[choir singing dirge]
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I saw The Tree Of Life last night. Just like Sean Penn, who spends the day in the office remembering about his brothers and family, the most urgent thing I feel I have to do this morning is to write about the movie. I haven't be so much impressed by a story, a song or a a film from a very long time.
It should go without saying, but let me tell you that this is not a film you should see if you just want to stop thinking about your life for a couple of hours. This should be kind of automatic, i know: but it's worth mentioning, as it would be really a pity to see flourishing such comments or opinions like "i was expecting something else" or "it's very slow paced" or "i didn't really understand that part of the story". Go watch this movie if you want (or: if you NEED) to think about yourself and your life and your story and your future MORE than you usually do, not less. Go watch this movie if you want to find a companion voice wondering together with you about what kind of relationship can be found between our personal stories and the story of the universe, between the quickness of a lizard running across a summer cornfield in Texas and the infinite spaces dividing the countless stars of the universe, between the tenderness of the love that you felt for your parents as a child and the plain fact that in order to grow up, to reproduce that love, you had to leave that child and that love behind you. The voice will help you to realize that the missing links are actually there, in front of your eyes; that in order to see them, your eyes must be open; and that regaining the innocence that seemed lost forever is the key, and the result, of understanding and accepting the presence of those links, opening your eyes.
Tree of Life is not a lecture, it's not a sermon: it's an honest flow of memories, meshed with inventions and dreams. It's a masterpiece. I don't feel like making technical remarks here, with this lone exception: everybody will talk about the magnificence of the images of the universe, the ones about the story of the world. I was struck, instead, by the way children were depicted in this movie: the camera is always at the same level of their eyes and after a while you really feel a kid yourself, a friend of them, a member of the pack, playing with them, one of them, again.
Strongly suggested to anybody, as long as you are looking for relax through relief, not relief through relax. But, in the end, The Tree Of Life it's a work easy to understand for anybody who's in the proper mindset - and yes, "everybody" includes even your children: in the worst case they will sleep through it, but hopefully they will stay awake, as they will feel perfectly comfortable with the family stories (since they are told with an honesty they will recognize as very close to their own). Eventually, maybe, they will wonder together with you about the meaning and the magnificence of the images retelling the story of the universe and time. Otherwise, as I said, they will sleep - but peacefully.
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