The Tree of Life is both luminously precise ... and maddeningly without form and void.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
With disarming sincerity and daunting formal sophistication "The Tree of Life" ponders some of the hardest and most persistent questions, the kind that leave adults speechless when children ask them.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Some will dismiss its overarching themes and elliptical visuals as pretentious. Others might question its quasi-biblical images. But the artistry in every frame is undeniable.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Both good and bad, great and fatally flawed, transporting and disappointingly literal.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
This movie weighs so much, yet contains so little. It's all vault and little coin.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Better than a masterpiece -- whatever that is -- The Tree of Life is an eruption of a movie, something to live with, think, and talk about afterward.
Nick Pinkerton - Village Voice
"The Tree of Life" is long, often redundant and certainly on its own wavelength. But movies so rarely provoke serious consideration and debate.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Daring in concept, occasionally daffy in execution and ultimately unforgettable, Mr. Malick's film offers a heartfelt answer to the question of where we humans belong- with each other, on this planet, bound by love.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
An audacious visual poet known for gently probing life's big questions, Malick has gone to the source of it all. He's gifted enough to bring out the spiritual dimensions of astrophysics.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
What a transcendent achievement.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
...it's the most bold and unconventional and visionary picture made using the apparatus of big-studio pictures since Kubrick's .
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Amid one's exasperation, there is no mistaking Malick's unfailing ability to grab at glories on the fly.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
What Malick does in "Tree of Life" is create the span of lives. Of birth, childhood, the flush of triumph, the anger of belittlement, the poison of resentment, the warmth of forgiving.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
I've seen it twice now, and though this childhood was not my childhood, and my spiritual yearnings are not Malick's, "The Tree of Life" already has come to mean a great deal to me.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
These audacious sequences can't help but evoke the metaphysical questing of 2001, and in fact The Tree of Life often feels like a religious response to Stanley Kubrick's cold, cerebral view of our place in the universe. Not to be missed.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
[It] not only aspires to change your life - it tries to explain it, from the first cosmic blip to those busy amoebae splitting and multiplying, to jellyfish jellying through the primal seas, to the planets lined up in a row.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
It's a flawed but impressive experiment, the sort of shoot-the-moon gamble that cinema can't do without.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
The vision is dazzling. The portrayal of family life palpable. The ending ... well, let's go back to the vision.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Beautiful, baffling, poetic, pretentious, it's one big ball of moviedom.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
[Malick is] a meticulous visionary who knows where to place a camera, but he hasn't a clue about how to tell a story with simplicity and coherence.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Few American filmmakers are as alive to the splendor of the natural world as Terrence Malick, but even by his standards, The Tree of Life represents something extraordinary.
Justin Chang - Variety
It's overflowing with powerful images that will stay with me a long time, even if I still can't explain some of them.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Glibly put, this challenging time-skipping rumination is the big screen equivalent of watching that "Tree" grow.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Wonder, dread, hope. They're among the emotions prompted by the cascade of images in something that's closer to epic poetry than to anything resembling narrative cinema.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
The ambition of Tree of Life is sweeping and robust.
Laremy Legel - Film.com
More meditation than movie, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is bound to mystify, awe and exasperate in equal measures.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
The result actually plays like a divine pronouncement, cosmic in scope and oracular in tone, a cinematic sermon on the mount that shows its creator in exquisite form. Exquisite but frustrating.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
It's a noble crazy, a miraculous William Butler Yeats kind of crazy, alive with passion for art and the world, for all that is lost and not lost and still to come.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Here's a testament to this reclusive, stubborn, visionary director's stunning achievement: His films can change the way you look at the world by showing you how another person sees it.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Striving for no less than the pinnacle of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Tree of Life falls short of masterful but retains a power that far too many motion pictures lack.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Brandishing an ambition it's likely no film, including this one, could entirely fulfill, The Tree of Life is nonetheless a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind's place in the grand scheme of things.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
If you're open to letting the imagery wash over you, to allowing yourself to get sucked into the film's rhythms and fluidly undulating tones, you'll be wowed.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
'Tree' delivers truths that don't go down easy. No one with a genuine interest in the potential of film would think of missing it.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
"Tree of Life" is a cinematic poem that will challenge your intellect, your faith and at times your patience.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
Are you looking for serious philosophizing, fluid filmmaking and stunning images? Or are satisfying drama and deep emotional connection what draws you in? Ideally you would have both, but that is not the case here.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Frankly, it may require multiple viewings before someone can definitively arrive at a conclusion.
Martin Tsai - Critic's Notebook
Malick's reach exceeds his grasp. But man, that is one hell of a reach.
Go ahead and take away my credibility badge...The film is one of the most emotionally affecting and profound experiences of my life, regardless of how recent it is.
You'd be hard pressed to find an examination of human existence as profound and spiritual as Terrence Malick's mind-blowing trip through the cosmos.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
The lack of story or purpose is annoying and at times, the film is too experimental. Topping things off is an abrupt and unsatisfying ending which doesn't leave us with good feelings towards the film.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
Malick may have pushed the envelope a bit too far, losing the ability to see the forest for the trees - even in a film as beautiful and surreal as The Tree of Life
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
It's fair to say that everyone will get at least something out of this film.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
While it doesn't leave you as breathless as Malick would like, The Tree of Life will stir your soul and make you think. Which is an outcome every moviemaker should aspire to create.
Erick Weber - NECN
Less Plato than metaphysical Play-Doh
Dan Jardine - Cinemania
- Sight and Sound
This film is a cinematic triumph! Terrence Malick's masterpiece!
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Es cierto que la pelicula es ambiciosa, y que no va a gustarle a todo el mundo. Pero para quien logre conectar con ella, puede resultar en una experiencia removedora y visualmente impactante.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
Mark R. Leeper - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Leonard Maltin - ReelzChannel.com
I'm not sure all of its diverse elements successfully make a whole story, but I am giving this film extra credit for being so incredibly ambitious, visually stunning and humane. It is a refreshing contrast to films that show the worst of humanity.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
A visually dazzling, intentionally polarizing examination of life and death, and the beauty and darkness hidden between.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Terrence Malick's astonishing masterpiece of light, movement, and spirit, casts a dizzying spell and somehow manages to pronounce the ineffable while telling its humble tale.
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
If I can prevent just one person from watching this, it'll have been worth suffering through it.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
A movie rooted in philosophy is bound to feel, well, philosophical. Expecting a filmmaker to avoid highfalutin' imagery and ideas when he's examining The Nature of Man is like expecting a geometry teacher to avoid talking about angles.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
A rich film that sets lofty goals for itself, and doesn't fall short by much.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Writer/director Terrence Malick has defied the odds and created a masterpiece of harrowing truth and deeply felt emotion.
S. James Wegg - JWR
A bold, epic exercise that Malick comes close to pulling off. It may not stack up against his best, but it doesn't fail to incite feelings of awe in its audience, either.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
Yes, it is a very strange film but, cutting Malick some slack for artistic license, his film is also compelling and hypnotic.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
Malick's brilliantly acted and photographed film evokes the emotional turmoil of childhood, its resentment, pains and joys, in a way that few other filmmakers can match
Jason Best - Movie Talk
Impressionistic may be a nice way to describe this often baffling mix of stunning cosmic imagery mixed with random snapshots of familial struggle...very, very different..
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
Not since "The Fountain" have I been left pondering on the bigger picture for such an extended period of time...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
It's confounding, borderline pretentious, stuff, but there's no denying the emotional weight it lends - imagine flicking through a Bible and someone's baby book at once.
Matt Glasby - Flicks.co.nz
The fifth film from Terrence Malick melds theology, philosophy and human experience in the unforgettable The Tree of Life.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
While I was writing this I learned that "The Tree of Life" had won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival...I can only assume that the judges were all cinematographers awarding a film consisting of Kodak moments.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
Uma experiencia profundamente religiosa para ateus, humanistas e, principalmente, cinefilos.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
Easily Malick's warmest movie and may well endure as his masterpiece...It is also a profoundly theological work. The best film of 2011 (tie).
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
The Tree of Life needs to be seen. Even if it is just because you've never seen anything like it before.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
If you find the storyline trite or tedious, you still might be engaged by its sheer beauty and come away admiring it for its audacity to be so confounding.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
- National Post
The Tree of Life is either a triumph of artistic cinema or an almost inscrutable load of film wank. I'm still not entirely sure which.
Tim Martain - The Mercury
This film is undoubtedly a piece of art, as much so as a Picasso painting -- one that invites viewers to immerse themselves, scratch their heads and consider it.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Like watching your whole life crawl towards you on its hands and knees.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
The tone of the film is mesmeric, transcendent, awe-inspiring.
Paul Byrnes - Sydney Morning Herald
A film that's more interesting to argue about than to actually watch.
Michael Atkinson - Sight and Sound
Within its ambition to convey the meaning of life, The Tree of Life is also boring, cliched and banal.
Jason Solomons - Observer [UK]
Malick seems to be trying to crystallise - in his own abstract way - a running theme in his work that dates back to Days of Heaven: that however significant or insignificant our lives turn out to be, our continued existence is a miracle in itself.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
For the first time in decades, Malick has achieved the height of his artistry in fully meshing the emotional and the aesthetic; they tug you in the same direction, rather than against each other.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Tree of life? Tree of sanctimonious mopey male egotism disguised as a search for meaning, more like.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Nobody else [but Malick] could have made it. Few would even dare to try.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
Beautifully shot, stunningly edited and superbly acted, Malick's long-awaited latest project is part childhood memoir, part metaphysical fantasy and part visual poem encompassing the beginning of life itself.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
As a film it's nothing if not bold - and the second half is the work of Malick The Genius - but if you decide to go, just don't expect a narrative.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
We're very happy to fall in love with Malick's opus.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
The Tree Of Life is far from perfect but it is a film of great beauty and longing: a philosophical rummage through the troubling memories of a lost America.
Caroline Jowett - Daily Express
Stunning, baffling, pretentious, brilliant - that's Life.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Some people have called the film pretentious, as if having a grand aim in making a film is somehow embarrassing. I was incredibly moved.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
An extraordinary vision of first contact, not between two cultures but between a soul and the universe.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
Moviegoers willing to tolerate Malick's origins-of-the-Earth ruminations eventually will come upon a universal American drama featuring one of Brad Pitt's strongest performances.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
The Tree of Life has an illusion of profundity, but it is just that, an illusion.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Feels like the elusive film-maker has become more indulgent than before ... being almost subversively disparaging to those who embrace and take comfort in nostalgia ...
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
One for the history books.
Alan Mack - Little White Lies
Many will find it ponderous and indulgent, but too often modern cinema is efficient and focus-grouped. The work of Terrence Malick becomes ever more vital as an antidote.
Andrew Collins - Radio Times
It feels like Malick made the film for himself, rather than for an audience.
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
An extraordinary achievement in storytelling that will captivate your inner sense of being.
Mark Sells - The Reel Deal
The Tree of Life won't resonate with everyone, but viewers approaching it with an open mind and a curious spirit may feel it touching their soul in a way that few films can.
Philip Concannon - The Skinny
How often do you leave the multiplex pondering the universe and your place in it? Consider it a unique workout for your popcorn-bloated brain.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
The Tree Of Life pushes American cinema into regions uncharted since Stanley Kubrick's heyday.
Jonathan Romney - Uncut Magazine [UK]
Any self-respecting cinephile should make time for it.
Ed Whitfield - What Culture
Malick's spiritual odyssey is baffling, unique and overspilling with wonder.
Jonathan Crocker - Total Film
Possibly it reinforces our awareness that finding any sort of path through life is a pretty overwhelming business, but this is not a terribly radical conclusion.
Catherine Bray - Film4
There is simply nothing like it out there: profound, idiosyncratic, complex, sincere and magical; a confirmation that cinema can aspire to art.
Ian Nathan - Empire Magazine
Apart from a middle section which reveals moments of clarity and actual emotion, this is a bloated, self-indulgent bore of fine imagery.
Ben McEachen - Empire Magazine Australasia
All that really emerges is that Terrence Malick...has, Stanley Kubrick-style, fermented into a filmmaker with a glacial output who begs to be deciphered rather than enjoyed.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Jennie Kermode - Eye for Film
The Tree of Life plays like the capstone of an obsessive trilogy. But its subject matter is more personal, more specific and more gripping.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
The Tree of Life is profound, pretentious, art, twaddle, a cinematic event and a pompous bore all packed into 138-overlong minutes. And, in its own way, it's a must-see.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
If you believe cinema can still be a valid form of personal expression, then you must see The Tree of Life. It does not get any more expressly personal than this.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
Lapses in narrative cohesion are easily more forgivable than lapses in heart, talent and intelligence, which are all things The Tree of Life has in spades.
Glenn Dunks - Trespass
In the main, Malick's juxtaposition of the ebb and flow of the natural world against the microcosm of family life is extremely effective and deeply affecting.
Fiona Williams - sbs.com.au
Malick takes a bold, intensely personal approach to this big story about life, the universe and everything. With echoes of Kubrick and Lynch, but in true Malick style, it's the kind of film we need to let wash over us rather than try to make sense of.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Terrence Malick's long awaited meditation on spirituality, loss and innocence stars Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain as a 1950's couple who - along with their eldest son Jack (Sean Penn) - struggle with the big questions of the meaning of life.
Simon Weaving - Screenwize
The Tree of Life is a cinematic poem of extraordinary scope and ambition.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
Terrence Malick's philosophical wallop of a movie is at once luminous, thrilling, obtuse, melodramatic, visually sumptuous, visceral, flawed and spiritual.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
It is a beautiful, intelligent film, sharp and insightful about the bond between father and son, thoughtful and amazed at the world that created them.
Anthony Morris - The Vine
Malick resides largely in his own vivid imagination and overly active subconscious, where it's just too easy for everybody else to get resolutely and inescapably lost.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
The Tree of Life evokes the defining presence and absence of mom more vividly than any other film I know.
Christopher Long - Movie Metropolis
The title suggests a grand vision about humanity, but this is at best garbled and perfunctory
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
You don't watch The Tree Of Life so much as loll in front of it. It's part puzzle, part coming-of-age tale, part wildlife documentary, and all mind-blowing.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Ambitious and spectacular.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
There are some touching scenes between father and son but the rest of the film felt too heavy-handed.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
I think it is simply terrific that such a beautifully souled man gets to make movies like this. But there are silly bits here, at points the movie become risible, and the ending seems almost a like a sketch show's parody of art films.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Aspires to be as mysterious and powerful -- and as attuned to the miraculous -- as the Episcopal service attended by its central family, or the baby's birth that functions as its core event.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
...a tour de force and an experiment in insularity...
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
There may be a masterpiece here, somewhere beneath the puzzlement and beyond the patience of what will be a lot of moviegoers. In that regard, the film's comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey - which Malick courts - could wind up having merit.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Its assembly alone makes a case for its achieving cinematic heights. It's a work of great confidence, asking its audience to observe, reflect, and feel.
Jeffrey Chen - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
There were dialogue-free sequences that nearly moved me to tears. There is imagery so powerful that, like nature and the planet itself, is so indescribably gorgeous that it's hard to imagine it was created without divine intervention.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Its neatest trick is that it feels like a Malick autobiography even as it directly speaks to receptive viewers on a one-to-one basis. It's cinema as a give-and-take relationship: The movie can only provide as much as the viewer is willing to put into it.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
I admire The Tree of Life - in the same way I admire the white-haired lady in the Guinness Book of World Records with 28-foot fingernails. By the way, after "The Tree of Life," you'll probably have to cut your nails, just saying.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
I got a sense the 67-year-old Malick cared little about whether he might lose viewers but was eager to destroy the boundaries of what stories movies could tell and what ideas they could contain.
Dan Lybarger - KC Active
What a gift it is to see the joys and pains of childhood - both somebody's, and everybody's - rendered so carefully and beautifully in a film.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Simply stating that the movie is nonlinear isn't enough. This is challenging, breathtaking, pretentious, and inspired filmmaking that pushes the boundaries of conventional storytelling.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
[Malick] has reached high, all the way up to our maker. You can decide whether he came back with a profound examination of humanity or a fistful of fog.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
This film's rewards are many, for those with the patience to simply let it float.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Sections of Malick's expansive, fitfully brilliant, occasionally sloppy film are so powerful that you can only gaze up at the screen in wordless awe.
Sam Adams - Philadelphia City Paper
It is an impressive, confounding achievement that calls to mind every drunken late-night debate that no one could articulate the next morning.
Loey Lockerby - Kansas City Star
Tree of Life is boundlessly poetic, the work of a master who has tapped into the nature of beauty so deeply that I wonder if there's any coming back for him.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
It is the most insightful look at how boys become men and how parents turn children into the people they grow up to be that I've ever seen on film.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In this flawed yet masterful, unforgettable movie, Malick argues that even the tiniest mote can have value. He sees miracles everywhere. You just have to make an effort to see them, too.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Those occasional moments in Days of Heaven that inspired a catch in the breath ... are the building blocks of this film. Grace notes are now the primary element.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
Goes from astonishing to let's-burn-down-the-theater aggravating at a moment's notice...could either transport you to another plane of existence or make you swear off moviegoing for the rest of the year.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Like David Lynch's Inland Empire, Malick's ode to creation is an uncompromised and highly personal project that insists that audiences engage it on his terms, not theirs.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
It feels like, um, can I just say I really liked it and it's an insanely audacious film by a filmmaker I will always appreciate?
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
In "Tree of Life," (director Terrence) Malick offers no middle ground. Audiences will either embrace or despise it. They will think it is either deep and profound or pretentious and self-indulgent. And they would be correct - on all counts.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
...a singular bit of avant-garde filmmaking that ultimately makes up in captivating visuals and pervasive mood what it lacks in context and exposition.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Malick thinks he's an artist. And that's his problem. He knows he's an artist, and he's wallowing in his own artistic waste.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Malick has created a space for audience members to meditate on God, life, the universe and everything. What you do with it, is up to you.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
"The Tree of Life" is rooted in human nature but ascends to the infinite mystery. It's a dizzying climb with few footholds for the timid or cynical, but the view from above is heavenly.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
While it doesn't come together perfectly, it's got amazing ideas and contains some of the best filmmaking in memory.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
No glib, conventional movie review can really capture Malick's amazing, meditative film. It's picture poems, with music.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
You don't really watch The Tree of Life so much as you experience it.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Malick's TREE OF LIFE is a modern day masterpiece.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
The famously reclusive, famously painstaking filmmaker Terrence Malick has made a film that projects such a meditation on screen, inviting us to bring to it or own search for meaning.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
It's a rhapsody on the mystery of simply being alive.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
Offers a genuinely religious vision -- a vision of creation and man's place in it that is spiritual in the best, not the worst, sense.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Get lost in Malick's memories
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Terrence Malick has another movie in the works, but it's hard to imagine that he'll top Tree of Life
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
Filmically, "The Tree of Life" is an extraordinary thing, and one that I shall likely esteem for a long time.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
It's obviously personal, it's coherent in its own way, and it's openly, sincerely spiritual.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Although it taxes patience in the way Malick films often do, it has excellent acting and passages of brilliance.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
[Malick] wants to see so much: people and through people to their souls, the world and through the world to the ineffable, life and death and through them to their meaning. And...he wants to help us to see it all too.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Like sitting in Malick's church... silent and solemn and challenging and reflective.
David Poland - Movie City News
Yes, Malick's Tree of Life is a beautiful film and its visuals will stay with you for a long time. There's no question he's a master visual filmmaker. But his storytelling must now be seriously examined.
Frank Wilkins - Frank's Reel Reviews
If you actually ask "honey, should we go see Pirates, Hangover or Tree of Life?," by all means - go see one of the other two. Your frame of mind is everything when it comes to your potential enjoyment and connection with this movie.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
Winner of this year's Palme d'Or at Cannes, Terrence Malick's movie offers up moments that imagine beginnings, not as if they're new, but rather, familiar and cyclical, creations as repetitions.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Just as The Tree of Life is the sort of movie we rarely see, the kind of thinking it provokes isn't the kind we engage in regularly. Malick makes a strong case for the notion that perhaps we should.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
It reminds one of the vividness life held in youth, and it may very well go down as one of the great works of human art.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
It is not demanding more of The Tree of Life than it can withstand to call it the defining film of Terrence Malick's whole life.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Similar to the great Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is an awe-inspiring visual splendor that will leave you searching for answers long after the closing credits scroll across the screen.
Adam Tobias - Watertown Daily Times
A beautiful, messy film: at times lyrical, intimate, and uplifting; at others, vast, inscrutable, and maddening.
Christopher Orr - The Atlantic
It is fair to assess that this film is definitely NOT for everyone. However, if you're feeling the least bit adventuresome, I'd say go for it!
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
What is undeniable is a powerful performance from Pitt, ably supported by his screen family.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
It's rare to find a flick that can be described as fascinating, boring, audacious, self-indulgent, frustrating, affecting, incoherent, engaging and maddening all in one breath. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Malick's astoundingly potent physical poetry makes all this spring to life; it's a movie to be felt and experienced deeply.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Terrence Malick's hotly awaited new movie, The Tree of Life, bursts with such unbridled ambition, vision, and sense of purpose that viewers tend to respond with either stunned speechlessness or babbling effusion.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
With its parallel depictions of the birth of the universe and a family in 1950s Texas, it must be plumbing deep meanings, right? Eh.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
Malick again shows his unparalleled personal vision.
I have always counted on Terrence Malick to make movies that exercise my synapses, and he delivers that here.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Frustration aside, which might be inevitable for those who don't genuflect at Malick's altar, The Tree of Life has an astute elegance to the way it tells its story even if the filmmaker cannot help himself from underlining the thematics.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
What we're left with is a scrapbook of stunning images.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Scenes build up seemingly without meaning, until it becomes clear who Jack's father has become, and you find yourself sympathizing with both sides. It's oddly profound for a movie that is so nakedly sloppy and self-important.
Adam Lippe - Examiner.com
An audacious and powerful work that is aesthetically gorgeous, thematically fascinating and emotionally devastating in equal measure
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
A triumphant piece of personal filmmaking that at once doubts the possibility of and then, as a result, actively searches for meaning.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
It is no doubt Malick's most ambitious motion picture to date, and, regrettably, his most misguided.
"The Tree of Life" is at times trying and perplexing, but it also contains some of the most psychologically insightful and ecstatic filmmaking imaginable.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
A pretty deadly affair...exactly the sort of picture one might expect from a reclusive filmmaker who's been told for years he's a great artist and has come to believe it.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Malick's best work since his first film.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Ambition doesn't automatically equal achievement, and non-commercial doesn't necessarily mean better. Only this guy could make a self-important riff on human insignificance.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Terrence Malick is hardly the first filmmaker to show us characters who cry out at the silence of God, but he is perhaps the most unquestionably American.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
To put it plainly, The Tree of Life is the most pretentiously "philosophical" film Malick has made.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
When I compare my own cinematic ambitions in light of a film like this, I cannot help but level an accusatory finger back at myself and cry aloud, "You, sir, are a fraud."
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
The Tree of Life is astonishing in some spots, almost incoherent in others and if it doesn't frustrate you at least some of the time ... you're not paying attention.
Bob Mondello - NPR
I can think of very few other movies made in the last few decades that have been this ambitious.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
Tree of Life, in this way, seems unmoored from a linear conception of time and narrative to an extent new to Malick's cinema and quite foreign to Hollywood cinema generally.
Leo Goldsmith - Not Coming to a Theater Near You
The Tree of Life is one of those few films that comes along once in a decade with artistic aspirations so enormous, it stands like a giant towering over the movies around it.
George Wu - culturevulture.net
witnessing Malick's vision of eternal life obliterated me almost immediately
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
It is at once both the movie I hoped it might be and also completely unlike anything I could have expected.
Ethan Alter - NYC Film Critic
Terrence Malick has earned the right to preach from some celestial pedestal, though preaching isn't exactly what he does. It's more like reflecting life's mysteries through a stained-glass window.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
A magisterial symphony of sprawling scope and grand vision, and a film that could awaken a cynical generation of filmmakers to rediscover the possibilities of the form.
Brett McCracken - Christianity Today
It's as much a meditation as a narrative, asking a tremendous amount of patience from viewers and rewarding that patience with something entirely new.
Josh Jackson - Paste Magazine
It's a phenomenal artwork but, for all its solar flares, it's cold to the touch.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Far be it for me to contradict the Cannes Film Festival jury, or some critics who saw The Tree of Life there and sang its praises to the skies, but I respectfully disagree. I would never dismiss the film out of hand-it has too many...
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Both sharply smart and maddeningly elusive, it's yet another film by a great director working at the height of his powers to do something genuinely new.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
If I have to choose between a movie that contains no ideas at all and one that tries to do too much, I'll pick the latter.
Dave White - Movies.com
...like watching the most attractive person you've ever seen in your life tell the most boring, drawn-out story you've ever heard. It made me want to grab Malick by the shoulders and yell, "Focus!"
Jenna Busch - SheKnows Network
A mesmerizing experience filled with breathtaking sights and sounds. It's much like life itself: visceral, enigmatic, spiritual, profound and simply complex.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
If you truly give in to the beauty of this amazing film, you might even find yourself changed by it. How often can you say that at the cinema?
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
It's an experience that stays with you, getting you thinking about the deepest recesses of space, the farthest reaches of time and what it all means.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
It's immensely mysterious, and immensely grand.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Like watching a magician perform one trick over and over again for 138 minutes.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
A ravishing achievement -- a merging of visual mastery and philosophical inquiry that it's hard to imagine any other director attempting.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
If you can let yourself go with the flow it's pretty awe-inspiring at times, and sure to be Oscar-nominated.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
...a compelling film about our place in the cosmos writ both large and small...Malick's ability to convey a family dynamic in a certain place with few scenes of actual dialogue is a real achievement.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
A movie of infinite moments ... placed side-by-side in a free-floating mosaic.
Keith Uhlich - Reverse Shot
Without anchoring himself to a larger historical event, Malick has made a startlingly direct expression of man's relationship to the natural world and to other forces beyond human comprehension.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
Will surely find plenty of detractors ... to counter its ardent admirers, but it's far too ambitious and fascinating to dismiss.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
A young couple raises three boys in the 1950s. Both Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain as the couple function from textbook gender roles, like Father Knows Best with an axe to grind.
Moira Sullivan - FilmFestivals.com
What keeps even the most trivial of Jack's memories from becoming boring is the remarkable way the film develops a sense of reality, situating the viewer right there.
Andy Klein - Brand X
The final product feels less like the grand-scale epic that Malick intended, and more like a college thesis paper on spirituality that's missing a few pages.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
Tree of Life is a gobsmacking experience that earns its grandness.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
...abstract, part dreamy childhood reverie and part gorgeously symphonic ode to the creation of the universe. It's breathtaking cinema, but incompletely tied together at best.
Chris Barsanti - Film Journal International
We've shared in something divine.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
...mourns mankind's awakening to original sin - in nature, in our families, in ourselves.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
Ambitious and imperfect, stunning and overwhelming, profound and perplexing, Terrence Malick's mediation on human life and our place in the universe is one of the most arguably exciting movies to come along in years.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Perched on a cliff of near self-parody, The Tree of Life dares to reveal Malick's idiosyncratic -- and humorless -- interest in existential occurrences.
Armond White - New York Press
Like an elephant parading on bubble wrap, The Tree of Life breaks new ground with every step. It's just a shame that some of those strides are more ponderous than they are profound.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
The film's images evoke feelings in the viewer, not all of which are impatience. But impatience does accrue - not so much "What's the point?" as "Get to the point."
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
An almost outrageously ambitious, shatteringly beautiful meditation on memory, childhood, loss, and figuring out one's place in the world.
Jon Frosch - France24
We were still discussing the film 45 minutes later, when the lobby had to be cleared. This is what Malick does.
David Gritten - Daily Telegraph
If you can suspend your cynicism and OPEN YOUR BLOODY HEART FOR A SECOND, YOU LIFELESS SHELL then The Tree of Life is truly a sight to behold.
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
Will you find it ridiculously sublime or sublimely ridiculous? Don't be afraid to find it both.
Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life never stops moving forward.
Dan Callahan - House Next Door
[VIDEO] It might come as a surprise to Malick to imagine that if you know you're creating when you're creating then you're not creating. But don't take my word for it, see "The Tree of Life" by all means. Doing so comes with bragging rights.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A stunning masterpiece. Pitt is phenomenal and fearless, staying true to his character's flaws.
Victoria Alexander - FilmsInReview.com
A bold and challenging film about a journey from stardust to wonder that stirs the soul as it sets the story of the creation of the universe alongside the intimate story of one family in the 1950s.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
a truly great film, not just because of what it accomplishes, but what it even tries; it not only depicts creation, it actually inspires it.
Todd Gilchrist - Hollywood News
The cosmic is the microcosmic in The Tree of Life, as Malick conflates the ethereal and the everyday into a spellbinding panorama.
Nick Schager - House Next Door
You have to admire Terrence Malick's cussedness and perversity. No other major American filmmaker, not even Stanley Kubrick at his most wilful, has ever made a film quite as idiosyncratic as The Tree Of Life.
Geoffrey Macnab - Independent
The Tree of Life may be abstract and unconventional, but it's staggeringly beautiful and admirably demands its audience to think long and hard about what's being presented.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
The Tree of Life's fetching images are like glowing shards of glass, and together they form a grandiose mirror that reflects Terrence Malick's impassioned philosophical outlook.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
For me, this is a pretty crushing disappointment, something that's hard to admit and even harder to write.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
An awesome work of filmmaking, an incredibly masterful and haunting and beautiful piece. This is big art, and it is worth more than one viewing.
It's a screen saver.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
Tree of Life belongs in a Loews multiplex about as much as it belongs in a museum, or projected at a site-specific artist's installation
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
The Tree of Life remains, for a time, thrillingly impressionistic, eschewing any semblance of conventional narrative in favor of a fragmentary approach in which glancing, allusive snippets of light, breath, and motion bum-rush the camera lens...
Mike D'Angelo - AV Club
Illuminating and insightful, it's a stunning, surreal, extraordinary epic that will dazzle yet perhaps dumbfound art-house audiences.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Precisely the kind of heady, ambitious effort Malick fans have long awaited from the former Harvard philosophy student and MIT philosophy professor.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
The Tree Of Life has moments of breathtaking visual and aural beauty, but in the end it has us longing for the days of Badlands, Days Of Heaven or The Thin Red Line, when the Texan auteur also knew how to spin a good yarn.
Lee Marshall - Screen International
The Tree of Life is a fractured film, so they needed five different editors to put it back together. I heard the original title was going to be The Humpty Dumpty of Life.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
I have no idea what I'll think of it tomorrow, next week, ten years from now, but it demands a repeat viewing.
David Fear - Time Out
Terrence Malick's visual delight, a career-culminating take on the mysteries of life.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Metaphysical in narrative, ambitious in goal, surreal in style, suerbly acted by Brad Pitt (who should get Oscar nomination), this is Malick's career-summation film, his masterpiece.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
This is how screen stories should be told in an age ready to lift off into aesthetic space. There are moments of cinematic near-ecstasy.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
It doesn't always communicate well, and when it does, it's sometimes trite, but it's also a film that's incredibly beautiful and wide open for the taking.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
There are times when the film seems more like a religious experience than narrative cinema...[it] sticks in the mind even if it tries the patience.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
It's a cosmic-interior epic of vainglorious proportions, a rebuke to realism, a disavowal of irony and comedy, a meditation on memory, and a gasp of horror and awe at the mysterious inevitability of loving, and losing those we love.
Strong visuals don't necessarily equal strong visual storytelling. If Malick could tell a story mostly with pictures - and faces - why would he need so many voice-overs?
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline