From the end of the world we arrive back at the beginning. Writer-director Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is the much anticipated and long-awaited new film from a director who makes Stanley Kubrick look prolific. Utilizing Kubrick’s sense of the wonder that cinema can evoke (ala’ 2001: A Space Odyssey), Malick gives us a visually astonishing and philosophically perplexing prelude about the birth of the cosmos only to crash us back down to earth and juxtapose it with his tale of a Christian family in 50s suburban Texas led by a fierce, stoic patriarch (Brad Pitt), an ethereal, faith-embued mother (Jessica Chastain) and troubled pre-teen Jack (Hunter McCracken) who finds his relationship with his parents (particularly his demanding and overbearing father) to be quite difficult. Sean Penn appears as the still troubled youth all grown-up and facing the vast questions surrounding the great unknown.


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