The Tree of Life is a unique experimental drama of a family wrestling with the death of a child and searching for religious and philosophical answers to the problem of evil.
The first scene introduces the way of nature and the way of grace: Nature is the survival of the fittest, whereas grace is love and forgiveness. The strict father represents the way of nature, and the loving mother represents the way of grace.
The mother hears her youngest child has died at age eighteen, and she asks God, "Where were you?" As if to answer her question, there is a breathtaking flashback to the creation of the universe and the origin of life on earth.
Meanwhile, her eldest son, Jack, now a middle-aged man, confronts the reality of his younger brother's death. Wandering through a city, lost in the modern world,
Jack remembers growing up with his brothers and losing his innocence in a series of impressionistic flashbacks.
Torn between the way of nature and the way of grace, he sees a vision of the afterlife where the dead unite with lost loved ones and understand all things in the fullness of time.
The Tree of Life is not narrative cinema; it is avant-garde experimental cinema. While it is incomprehensible to some, it is visually breathtaking to all.
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