Watch The Tree of Life
- 2 hr 18 min
The Tree of Life is a drama film released in 2011. It was critically lauded, receiving three Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The film follows the life of Jack O'Brien (played as an adult by Sean Penn) in his personal search for meaning. He is the oldest of three siblings. The story begins in the 60s when word comes that his brother R. L. has died in military service. The news throws the family into turmoil. It is this event that frames the story, as an adult Jack attempts to reconcile differences with his father. Jack's ruminations on his life invoke the non-linear narrative and abstract imagery that make the film distinct. The various special effects used in these sequences are impressive, but not distracting or overly sensational. We are brought back to Jack as an innocent child. His parents while loving, provide him with a conflicting approach towards life. Jack's mother (Jessica Chastain) is gentle and nurturing. She offers a wondrous take on existence. His father (Brad Pitt) on the other hand has a harsh view of the world, and wants to discipline his sons in preparation for a cruel reality. As Jack grows up and sees the woes of the world he is forced to reconcile the gentle views of his mother with the severity of his father's. His memories are peppered with abstract images that are evokative of the broader universe. The Tree of Life is an exploration of the problems in life that we all face. It touches upon the basic existential dilemmas that make us human. Jack's attempts to find a common ground in himself between his father and mother's world views can appeal to anybody. His struggles are a microcosm of the search for identity that we all take on. It is an impressive work that seeks to bridge the gap between the personal and the universal.