The Tree of Life is an amazing film by Terence Malick, starring Brad Pitt. It came out last year and caused quite a stir with critics praising it highly and many people claiming they were completely baffled by it.

The style is very choppy with unexplained images of the creation and dinosaurs mixed in with memories from a 1950's childhood.

I was completely hooked by it, not really understanding it entirely - it is quite esoteric. I just wondered if anyone had seen it and what you thought of it? I think it may require multiple viewings to get more out of it and deepen understanding.

If anyone has any insights into what a tree of life actually is then I would love to hear about it.

asked 06 Sep '12, 04:32

Catherine's gravatar image


edited 06 Sep '12, 07:21

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦

@Catherine - Thank you for bringing this up, you have me curious now. Just waiting on Netflix. :)

(07 Sep '12, 23:06) Grace
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The Tree of Life aka the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is a name for the Hebrew Qabala or Kabala.

Having not seen this movie, I can't say how it would relate to inner mysticism.

Wildly varying reviews of the movie reflect the state of mind of the critics. For some it was a beautiful transcendental experience. Others claim it did not put them to sleep, but put them in a coma. Perhaps this was a deep metaphysical state for them, I mean this in a positive way.

@Catherine has expressed a very positive feeling about it. Since she and I resonate on many points, I'll take a look at it. Netflix has it. I have added it to my DVD queue, at the top.

EDITED: Saw the movie, did not resonate with me. I appreciate the allegories to creationism as the characters progressed, the photography and music were surreal and masterful, the childhood joy was very well portrayed, but it still came across as struggle to resolution through grief, guilt and trying to understand each other.

I see the clips with the dinosaurs and other beautiful scenes interspersed with the family problems as the filmmakers putting the squabbles against the perspective of God's creations, even though the transitions were not clear. I saw this as an attempt to get people to focus on God (Source, Allah, Universal Mind, Whatever) and His creations, pass by the family friction and see the grand big picture.

My father was similar in outlook to Brad Pitt, "I am tough on you because I want you to be strong!" Militaristic rules and punishment for not following his autocratic, changing rules. Certainly this impacted me, even though I did become a strong person.

Now I feel much better, and have a better relationship with my wife since I became less rules oriented and more accepting. There is strength in armor, but even more power in Love.

I wanted to turn the movie off, but my wife insisted on seeing it through. Later, we discussed the movie and she remarked she was looking for a happy resolution. She did not feel that she got one. My feeling is that the movie ended honestly.

The end point of any journey is just a focal point. We are here to enjoy the journey.

I don't see how you can have a happy ending to a miserable journey. This has been a criticism by some as being a problem with many religions, that we must suffer, feel guilt, sacrifice, and finally work though all our grief and guilt - maybe - to be promoted to a glorious reward after many, many years of suffering.

I don't resonate with movies or situations that promote struggle to Joy. But this is just me with my personal foibles and belief systems.

Your cork wants to float, your natural inclination is to Joy, let it float, the only way you feel grief is to personally hold your float down, and the minute you let it go, it will surface in Joy!

When I was a small child, my father found me with a pair of pliers clamped on my left thumb. I was screaming and crying in pain as the jaws of the pliers were biting into me. You see, I was applying force to the pliers with my right hand. The harder I pressed, the louder I screamed. The solution that I could not see through my pain, was to let go of the pliers!

All we have to do is to let go of the pliers! YOUR Heavenly Father stands ready to help, if we would just shut up and listen and let go.

I have to stop and ask myself, "Are you clamping down again with your pliers?" and sometimes I hear a Heavenly laugh, while I hear a Voice say, "This is not what I had in mind when you came to this world. Seek Joy. That is what you were made for!"

I very much needed to hear this, this morning!


answered 06 Sep '12, 07:00

Dollar%20Bill's gravatar image

Dollar Bill

edited 10 Sep '12, 08:27

@Dollar Bill - I had done a bit of research about the tree of life but there were several ideas about it - this idea would make sense given the film. I think you said you are a psychologist - I really look forward to hearing what you have to say about it.

(06 Sep '12, 07:59) Catherine

@Dollar Bill - Netflix; me too. This is sounding interesting.

(07 Sep '12, 23:03) Grace

@Dollar Bill Thanks for getting back to me - very interesting points you make. I'm still quite baffled by it.

(10 Sep '12, 08:56) Catherine

@Dollar Bill - Excellent description of the film DB. It's sounds like it has given you some contrast at very least. :) I think the sustained feeling of grief in the movie was the turn off for me. Give me a comedy anyday  :)

(10 Sep '12, 14:38) Satori
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I seen this movie a few weeks back. This is either a love it or hate it movie I think. It was visually very impressive I thought, and some nice atmospheric music playing almost throughtout . The maker's recommend you turn the volume up on your tv at the start of the movie to get the full effect of the movie. First time I have seen this done.

I can see how some people would be baffled by this film as it frequently jumps to different time-lines, has very little dialogue, and is filmed with some rare camera angle's. It is definately a very unique film and would probably take a few viewings to understand it. It is almost like a very long guided meditation. I felt myself drawn to it throughtout and yet another part of me wanted to just switch it off:)


answered 06 Sep '12, 07:19

Satori's gravatar image


edited 06 Sep '12, 07:31


Intrigues me even more. Thanks @Satori

(06 Sep '12, 07:32) Dollar Bill

@Satori I do know exactly what you mean about a part of you wanting to switch it off ... very very intriguing film that has that pulling you and pushing you away feeling at the same time!

(06 Sep '12, 07:38) Catherine

@Dollar Bill- Your welcome, enjoy:)

(06 Sep '12, 07:43) Satori

@Catherine- Maybe it was just the frame of mind I was in at the time, I'm not sure, but i'm just being as accurate as to what I felt whilst watching it :)

(06 Sep '12, 07:46) Satori

@Catherine- I could say more but I don't want to give too much away for folk that have not seen it;)

(06 Sep '12, 08:16) Satori

@Satori, thanks for holding back, I want to see this now. :) I'm not usually much of a Brad Pitt fan, so this one would pass under my radar without this discussion.

(07 Sep '12, 23:05) Grace

@Grace BP is almost unrecognisable in this - actually his pretty boy looks has led me to underestimate his ability as an actor but he is very believable in this as a strict 1950's dad. He isn't one of my all time favourite actors but I did love "A River Runs Through It" - wonderful scenery in that too.

(08 Sep '12, 07:00) Catherine

@Grace- hope you enjoy the show Grace:)

(08 Sep '12, 11:00) Satori

It still doesn't hold a candle to this movie though, for evoking emotion :)

(08 Sep '12, 11:05) Satori

@Satori, thank you, that one is now also in my netflix queue. You guys are pushing back my beloved Downton Abbey, I'm just sayin. :)

(08 Sep '12, 11:19) Grace

@Satori - I just finished watching Fearless. You might have warned me, my friend. I am ripped to shreds. I should probably not have watched it alone. It's one of those movies where you (ok I) get caught up, and take the ride right along with the characters. LOL I actually feel a little lost. I wish I could find someone to talk to right now. It tore me right open. Did you hear the pilot saying ...

(16 Sep '12, 21:45) Grace

..."Grace, Grace, Grace" as the plane was going down? Good lord. Powerful movie, to put it mildly. My jaw dropped (I must have been quite a sight :P) when U2 started playing. I feel broken open, again. I'm getting used to living with my heart open. But I get it, make no mistake, I get it. I actually live aware quite a bit. Which reminds me, I'm missing a great, desert-wind-swept sunset, I gotta go. :)

(16 Sep '12, 21:46) Grace

@Grace- Sounds like it had a big effect on you. It is a very powerful movie to say the least, I hope it left you with something positive:)

(17 Sep '12, 13:15) Satori

@Satori - It did, thank you. I ended up driving west, chasing the sunset as fast as I could with my head out the window, music turned up, remembering how I used to do that kind of thing all of the time. The images and feeling of the movie were contagious. I had a wonderful evening. :)

(17 Sep '12, 14:09) Grace
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