Terrence Malick’s 9 Narrative Feature Films, Ranked – The Wrap

2. “The Tree of Life” (2011) The connection between a man’s childhood, his unknowable future and the creation of the universe itself intertwine in Malick’s most mindbogglingly expansive narrative feature. “The Tree of Life” stars Sean Penn, whose memory of his abusive father, played by Brad Pitt, and his angelic mother, played by Jessica Chastain, take the exact form of memory — disjointed at the start of his existence, sometimes inexplicable, and then gradually coalescing into a distinct storyline that’s fascinatingly specific and, simultaneously, completely universal. To watch “The Tree of Life” is to walk inside another human being’s mind, wander through their whole existence, and emerge enlightened.


William Bibbiani | December 17, 2019 @ 1:04 PM


However improbably, the 2010s became the decade of Terrence Malick – AV Club

When Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life was released to great acclaim back in 2011, new work from the revered Texas filmmaker was still a rare treat. He never made movies at the same pace as his New Hollywood peers in the ’70s, and even with a slight uptick in productivity following the 20-year break between Days Of Heaven in 1978 and The Thin Red Line in 1998, Malick was still averaging approximately one movie per decade. With Tree Of Life, which felt in so many ways like the film Malick had been working toward for nearly 40 years, it seemed as if his entry for the 2010s was simply arriving a little early, perhaps as a career-capping statement. It’s certainly easy enough to picture Malick finishing the movie and then ascending to whatever mystical-looking beach he imagines we reach at the end of our earthly adventures.


Our 100 Favourite Movies of the Decade: 2011 – ThatShelf.com

The period between Terrence Malick’s triumphant return to cinema with 1998’s The Thin Red Line and more recent, less heralded output like Knight of Cups and Song to Song was capped by what is arguably the reclusive filmmaker’s grand opus: 2011’s The Tree of Life.

by  That Shelf Staff  |  December 17, 2019, 10:30 am

The period between Terrence Malick’s triumphant return to cinema with 1998’s The Thin Red Line and more recent, less heralded output like Knight of Cups and Song to Song was capped by what is arguably the reclusive filmmaker’s grand opus: 2011’s The Tree of Life.

The film marked a transition of sorts for Malick. Following this film lay a series of movies that play more as grueling-but-gorgeous formal experiments than coherent narratives (a trend only recently broken with 2019’s A Hidden Life). The Tree of Life stood at a crossroads between his early films and the path he’d soon go down, existing as a distillation of the heady themes and deep quandaries that have echoed throughout his work and his most captivating stylistic tendencies. It’s a film that washes over the viewer, one that is almost certain to move you on a very basic human level if you give it your time and attention. Brad Pitt stars as an archetypal father figure, and he’s joined by Jessica Chastain in a star-making turn as a paragon of motherhood, and Sean Penn as their grown-up son. The film is ostensibly about growing up in suburban 1950s Texas and reflecting back on childhood, but as with most of Malick’s movies the story is undergirded by larger thematic elements, touching upon birth, death, life, the universe and everything in it.

TheTree of Life hits the extraordinary heights it does in large part thanks to Emmanuel Lubezki’s intimate and enthralling cinematography, Alexandre Desplat’s ever present score, and Douglas Trumbull’s stunning visual effects sequences. The only question at this point is: Which version should you watch first? Do you choose Malick’s original 2011 theatrical version (which clocked in at 135 minutes), or the alternate version produced for the 2019 Criterion release (a new edit that comes in at a whopping 188 minutes)? Both versions would almost certainly make the cut as major works from this decade. (WP)

‘The Tree of Life’ tops AP’s best 10 films of the decade – ABC News

1. “Tree of Life”: All the mystery and harmony of life, in the memory-tinged detail of a small-town 1950s Texas family but writ across time and the cosmos. Terrence Malick’s radiant 2011 film maps individual existence against eternity, turning an intimate tale epic. It’s got Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain and dinosaurs and it’s one of the most sublime and soul-stirring movies ever made.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle

Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” leads the best films of the decade, according to Associated Press Film Writers Jake Coyle and Lindsey Bahr


The 10 Best Brad Pitt Movies of the Decade (According to IMDb)

10. THE TREE OF LIFE (2011) –
This Terrence Malick-helmed film takes second bottom spot on this list, but clearly this drama still made the top 10. The Tree of Life is set in Texas, 1956. Jack is the eldest son in his family, and this story follows his innocent childhood all the way into his complicated adult years. There, he tries to reconcile his relationship with his father (Pitt) in a quest of faith and meaning of life. This movie is deep and insightful, and has the wonderful cast of Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, and of course, Brad Pitt.


The Tree of Life by Jody Hewgill

Jody has created many illustrations for prestigious publications including Time, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Oprah Magazine and many others. She is the recipient of many awards including American Illustration, Communication Arts, Print Magazine, The Society of Publication Designers, and numerous gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York.


The 100 best movies of the decade, ranked – Insider.com

15. “The Tree of Life” (Director: Terrence Malick, 2011)

It’s not easy to make a movie that has both the scale of a single human lifetime and of the age of the universe. But Terrence Malick has shown us how they can be the same thing. “The Tree of Life” is a roving, gorgeous look at how people grapple with infinity without falling into the traps of narcissism. — Jacob Shamsian


The Best Picture Winners of the Decade Ranked Worst to Best – Collider

Winner: The Artist

What Should Have Won: The Tree of Life

The Artist is a fun and wholly forgettable exercise. It’s kind of amazing, in hindsight, that this movie won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and yet its central figures never really returned to the awards circuit in any significant way. Jean Dujardin is dashing as the film’s silent movie star protagonist; Berenice Bejo is alluring as a silent era “it girl”; the dog is fun. But nothing about The Artist really stands the test of time. It’s sweet and fun and flighty, and it ends up making almost no impression at all.


The Tree of Life review – Mad Mass

Throughout the film, the presence of strong biblical echoes is palpable, relating in particular to the Book of Job and the first chapters of Genesis, as well as the intrusion, subplots, of references to Christian Gnosticism and Heidegger’s philosophy. Bearing in mind what Father Arpa used to say about Fellini, perhaps Terrence Malick is the true “singer of Grace” in Western cinema, the only one who has been able to transpose with such skill – the film is one of the best works of the last thirty years, not to mention always – themes of such spiritual depth raising the cinema as a secular place of worship.

Of Editorial board – 18 November 2019