The Tree of Life (PG)

From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s.

The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

Discussion Starters

1. How does this film make you feel?

2. Do you engage with the characters and the story? Why? Why not?

3. It is clear the film sets out to define the way of “nature” and the way of “grace”. Do you think the film broadens your understanding of those terms? Why? Why not?

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