The Tree of Life (film)
|The Tree of Life|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Terrence Malick|
|Produced by||Sarah Green
|Written by||Terrence Malick|
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Editing by||Hank Corwin
|Studio||River Road Entertainment|
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
|Running time||139 minutes|
The Tree of Life is a 2011 American drama film with experimental elements written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain. The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, against the narrative backdrop of the origins of the universe and the inception and end of life on Earth.
After several years in development and missing 2009 and 2010 release dates, the film premiered in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or. Critics were divided about the film: some praised it for Malick's use of technical and artistic imagery, directorial style, and fragmented non-linear narrative; others criticised it for the same reasons. In January 2012, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. In the 2012 Sight & Sound critics' poll, 16 critics voted for it as one of their 10 greatest films ever made; this ranked it at #102 in the finished list. Five directors also voted, making the film ranked at #132 in the directors' poll.
A mysterious, wavering light, resembling a flame, flickers in the darkness. Mrs. O'Brien recalls a lesson taught to her that people must choose to follow either the path of grace or the path of nature. In the 1960s, she receives a telegram informing her of the death of her son, R.L., aged nineteen. Mr. O'Brien is notified by telephone while at an airport. The family is thrown into turmoil.
In the present day, the O'Briens' eldest son, Jack, is adrift in his modern life as an architect. One day he apologizes to his father on the phone for an argument about R.L.'s death. In his office, Jack begins reflecting and we see shots of tall buildings under the sky, Jack wandering in the desert, trees that stretch from the ground up to the sun high in their leaves and scenes from his childhood in the 1950s that all link together and lead back to the flame.
From the darkness the universe is born, the Milky Way and then the solar system form while voice-overs ask existential questions. On the newly formed Earth, volcanoes erupt and microbes begin to form and replicate. Sea life is born, then plants on land, then dinosaurs. An asteroid tumbles through space and strikes the Earth.
In a sprawling neighborhood in Waco, Texas live the O'Briens. The young couple is enthralled by their new baby Jack and, later, his two brothers. When Jack reaches adolescence, he is faced with the conflict of accepting the way of grace or nature, as embodied by each of his parents. Mrs. O'Brien (grace) is gentle, nurturing, and authoritative, presenting the world to her children as a place of wonder. Mr. O'Brien (nature) is strict and authoritarian, and easily loses his temper as he struggles to reconcile his love for his sons with wanting to prepare them for a world he sees as corrupt and exploitative. He laments his decision to become an engineer rather than to pursue his passion of becoming a musician. He tries to get ahead by filing patents for various inventions.
Jack's perceptions of the world begin to change after one of his friends drowns at the pool and another of his friends is burned in a house fire. He becomes angry at his father for his bullying behavior and begins to keep a running tally of Mr. O'Brien's various hypocrisies and misdeeds while lashing out at his mother for allowing the behavior.
One summer, Mr. O'Brien takes a long business trip. While he is away, the boys enjoy unfettered access to their mother, and Jack experiences the first twinges of rebelliousness. Goaded by other boys his age, Jack commits acts of vandalism and animal abuse. He later trespasses into a neighbor's house and steals her sheer nightgown. Jack is confused and angered by his feelings of sexuality and guilty trespass. He throws the stolen lingerie into a river to rid himself of it. Mr. O'Brien returns home from his unsuccessful business trip. Shortly thereafter, the plant that he works at closes and he is given the option of relocating to work in a thankless position within the firm or being made redundant. He and his family pack up to move to the new job location. He laments the course his life has taken, questioning whether he has been a good enough person. He asks Jack for forgiveness for his harsh treatment of him.
In the present, adult Jack leaves work. Riding the elevator down, he experiences a vision of following his young self across rocky terrain, in the far distant future in which the sun expands into a red giant engulfing the earth and then shrinks into a feeble white dwarf. Jack tentatively walks through a wooden door frame, erected on the rocks. On a sandbar, Jack sees images of death and the dead returning to life. He is reunited with his family and all the people who populate his memory. His father is happy to see him. He encounters his dead brother, whom he brings to his parents. Accompanied by a woman in white and her younger self, Mrs. O'Brien looks to the sky and whispers, "I give him to you. I give you my son."
Jack's vision ends and he leaves the building smiling.
The mysterious wavering light continues to flicker in the darkness.
- Brad Pitt as Mr. O'Brien
- Sean Penn as Jack O'Brien
- Hunter McCracken as young Jack
- Jessica Chastain as Mrs. O'Brien
- Laramie Eppler as R.L. O'Brien
- Tye Sheridan as Steve
- Kari Matchett as Jack's ex
- Joanna Going as Jack's wife
- Michael Showers as Mr. Brown
- Kimberly Whalen as Mrs. Brown
- Jackson Hurst as Uncle Roy
- Fiona Shaw as Grandmother
- Crystal Mantecón as Elisa
- Tamara Jolaine as Mrs. Stone
- Dustin Allen as George Walsh
Terrence Malick pitched the concept of The Tree of Life to River Road Entertainment head Bill Pohlad while the two were collaborating on an early version of Che. Pohlad recalls initially thinking the idea was "crazy," but as the film concept evolved, he came to feel strongly about the idea; he ended up financing the film. Producer Grant Hill was also involved with the film at an early stage. During a meeting on a different subject involving Malick, his producer Sarah Green, Brad Pitt, and Pitt's Plan B Entertainment production partner Dede Gardner, Malick brought up Tree of Life and the difficulties it was having getting made. It was "much later on" that the decision was made for Pitt to be part of the cast.
The Tree of Life was announced in late 2005, with Indian production company Percept Picture Company set to finance it and Donald Rosenfeld on board as executive producer. The film was set to be shot partially in India, with pre-production scheduled to begin in January 2006. Colin Farrell and Mel Gibson were at one stage attached to the project. Heath Ledger was set to play the role of Mr. O'Brien, but dropped out (due to recurring sicknesses) a month before his death in early 2008.
In an October 2008 interview Jack Fisk, a longtime Malick collaborator, suggested that the director was attempting something radical. He also implied that details of the film were a close secret. In March 2009, visual effects artist Mike Fink revealed to Empire magazine that he was working on scenes of prehistoric Earth for the film. The similarity of the scenes Fink describes to descriptions of a hugely ambiguous project entitled Q that Malick worked on soon after Days of Heaven has led to speculation that The Tree of Life is a resurrection of that abandoned project.
Principal photography began in Texas in 2008. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki returned to work with Malick after collaborating with him on The New World. Locations included Smithville, Houston, Matagorda, Bastrop, Austin, Dallas, and Malick's hometown of Waco.
The namesake of the film is a large live oak tree that was excavated from a property a few miles outside Smithville. The 65,000-pound tree and root ball was trucked into Smithville and replanted.
After nearly thirty years away from Hollywood, famed special effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull contributed to the visual effects work on The Tree of Life. Malick, a friend of Trumbull, approached him about the effects work and mentioned that he did not like the look of computer-generated imagery. Trumbull asked Malick, "Why not do it the old way? The way we did it in 2001?"
Working with visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, Trumbull used a variety of materials for the creation of the universe sequence. "We worked with chemicals, paint, fluorescent dyes, smoke, liquids, CO2, flares, spin dishes, fluid dynamics, lighting and high speed photography to see how effective they might be," said Trumbull. "It was a free-wheeling opportunity to explore, something that I have found extraordinarily hard to get in the movie business. Terry didn't have any preconceived ideas of what something should look like. We did things like pour milk through a funnel into a narrow trough and shoot it with a high-speed camera and folded lens, lighting it carefully and using a frame rate that would give the right kind of flow characteristics to look cosmic, galactic, huge and epic." The team also included Double Negative in London, under the supervision of Paul Riddle, who handled the astrophysical aspects of the segment. Fluid-based effects were developed by Peter and Chris Parks, who had previously worked on similar effects for The Fountain.
In March 2009, Empire magazine's website quoted visual effects supervisor Mike Fink as saying that a version of the film will be released for IMAX cinemas along with two versions for traditional cinemas. The IMAX film has been revealed to be The Voyage of Time, a documentary expanding on the 'history of the universe' scenes in The Tree of Life, which the producers decided to focus on releasing at a later date so as not to cannibalise its release.
Delays and distribution issues
By May 2009, The Tree of Life had been sold to a number of international distributors, including Europacorp in France, TriPictures in Spain, and Icon in the UK and Australia, but lacked a US distributor. In August 2009, it was announced that the film would be released in the US through Apparition, a new distributor founded by River Road Entertainment head Bill Pohlad and former Picturehouse chief Bob Berney. A tentative date of December 25, 2009 was announced, but the film was not completed in time. Organisers of the Cannes Film Festival made negotiations to secure a premiere at Cannes 2010, resulting in Malick sending an early version of the film to Thierry Fremaux and the Cannes selection committee. Though Fremaux warmly received the cut and was eager to screen the film at his festival, Malick ultimately told him that he felt the film was not ready. On the eve of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Berney suddenly announced his departure from Apparition, leaving the company's future uncertain. Pohlad decided to keep The Tree of Life at Apparition, and after significant restructuring, hired Tom Ortenberg to act as a consultant on its release. A tentative plan was made to release it in late 2010, in time for awards consideration. Ultimately, Pohlad decided to close Apparition and sell rights to the film. Private screenings of the film to interested parties Fox Searchlight Pictures and Sony Pictures Classics took place at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival. On September 9, Fox Searchlight announced their acquisition of the film from Pohlad's River Road Entertainment. The film opened in limited release in the United States on May 27, 2011.
On March 28, 2011, UK magazine Empire reported that UK distributor Icon Entertainment was planning to release the film on May 4, 2011. This would make the UK the first region in the world to see the film, preempting the expected Cannes Film Festival premiere on May 11. This would disqualify the film from inclusion at Cannes. As a result, a surge of interest in the story developed on international film news sites. After film blogger Jeff Wells was told by a Fox Searchlight representative that this was "unlikely", and Anne Thompson received similar word from Searchlight and outright denial from Summit, Helen O'Hara from Empire received a confirmation from Icon that they intended to stick with the May 4 release. On March 31, Jeff Wells was told by Jill Jones, Summit's senior VP of international marketing and publicity, that Icon has lost the right to distribute The Tree of Life in the UK, due to defaulting on its agreement, with the matter pending arbitration at a tribunal in Los Angeles. On June 9, it was announced that The Tree of Life would be released in the UK on July 8, 2011, after Fox Searchlight Pictures picked up the UK rights from Icon.
The Tree of Life Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat was released in 2011 by Lakeshore Records. Although billed as the movie soundtrack, only a few minutes of the music are heard in the film.
Early reviews for The Tree of Life at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival were polarized. After being met with both boos and applause at its premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the film received very mixed early reviews. The film went on to be awarded the prestigious Palme d'Or. Two of the film's producers, Bill Pohlad and Sarah Green, accepted the prize on behalf of the reclusive Malick. The Tree of Life is the first American film to win the Palme d'Or since Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004. The head of the jury, Robert De Niro, said it was difficult to choose a winner, but The Tree of Life "ultimately fit the bill". De Niro explained, "It had the size, the importance, the intention, whatever you want to call it, that seemed to fit the prize."
On August 19, 2011 it was announced that the film had won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Big Prize for the Best Film Of the Year. The award was presented on September 16, during the opening ceremony of the 59th San Sebastián International Film Festival. Malick released a statement of thanks for the award. On November 28, it was announced that the film had won the Gotham Award for Best Feature, shared with Beginners.
The Tree of Life holds an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 241 reviews. The site's consensus is that "Terrence Malick's singularly deliberate style may prove unrewarding for some, but for patient viewers, Tree of Life is an emotional as well as visual treat." At Metacritic which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 85 based on 43 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Roger Ebert gave the film four stars of four and wrote, "The Tree of Life is a film of vast ambition and deep humility, attempting no less than to encompass all of existence and view it through the prism of a few infinitesimal lives. The only other film I've seen with this boldness of vision is Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and it lacked Malick's fierce evocation of human feeling. There were once several directors who yearned to make no less than a masterpiece, but now there are only a few. Malick has stayed true to that hope ever since his first feature in 1973." In 2012, Roger Ebert called the film one of the 10 greatest films of all time in Sight & Sound's poll.
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gives it five stars and states it is an "unashamedly epic reflection on love and loss" and a "mad and magnificent film." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter states "Brandishing an ambition it's likely no film, including this one, could entirely fulfill, The Tree of Life is nonetheless a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind's place in the grand scheme of things that releases waves of insights amidst its narrative imprecisions." Justin Chang of Variety states the film "represents something extraordinary" and "is in many ways his simplest yet most challenging work, a transfixing odyssey through time and memory that melds a young boy's 1950s upbringing with a magisterial rumination on the Earth's origins." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone states "Shot with a poet's eye, Malick's film is a groundbreaker, a personal vision that dares to reach for the stars." A. O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film much praise and stated, "The sheer beauty of this film is almost overwhelming, but as with other works of religiously minded art, its aesthetic glories are tethered to a humble and exalted purpose, which is to shine the light of the sacred on secular reality". Total Film gave the film a five-star review (denoting 'outstanding'): "The Tree Of Life is beautiful. Ridiculously, rapturously beautiful. You could press 'pause' at any second and hang the frame on your wall." Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011.
On the other hand, Sukhdev Sandhu, chief film critic of The Daily Telegraph describes the movie as "self-absorbed," and "achingly slow, almost buckling under the weight of its swoony poetry." Lee Marshall's review for Screen Daily followed a similar line, seeing the film as "a cinematic credo about spiritual transcendence which, while often shot through with poetic yearning, preaches too directly to its audience." Stephanie Zacharek of Movieline praised the technical aspects of the film, such as the "gorgeous photography", however states nonetheless it is "a gargantuan work of pretension and cleverly concealed self-absorption." Filmmaker David Lynch said that, while he liked Malick's previous works, The Tree of Life "was not his cup of tea".
Sean Penn has said, "The screenplay is the most magnificent one that I've ever read but I couldn't find that same emotion on screen. ... A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact." He further clarified his reservations about the film by adding, "But it's a film I recommend, as long as you go in without any preconceived ideas. It's up to each person to find their own personal, emotional or spiritual connection to it. Those that do generally emerge very moved."
The Tree of Life was voted best film of 2011 in the annual Sight & Sound critic poll, earning one and a half times as many votes as runner up A Separation. The film also topped the critics poll of best released film of 2011 by Film Comment, and the indieWire annual critics survey for 2011, as well as The Village Voice/LA Weekly Film Poll 2011.
Top ten lists
The film appeared on over 70 critics' year-end top ten lists, including 15 first place rankings.
|List of awards and nominations|
- "THE TREE OF LIFE (12)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
- "The Tree of Life". The Numbers.
- "The Tree of Life (2011)". Box Office Mojo. October 27, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- Desowitz, Bill (June 1, 2011). "Giving VFX Birth to Tree of Life". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- Abele, Robert (September 9, 2009). "Pohlad holds out hope". Variety. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Zeitchik, Steven; John Horn (January 24, 2012). "Oscars 2012: How will 'Tree of Life' be represented?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2012. "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it had yet to determine which producers would be eligible for the best picture prize....it's likely that Bill Pohlad and Sarah Green will be two of the producers. Pohlad, who financed the film, had been developing it with Malick for about a decade, while Green is Malick's longtime producer and close confidant. The third slot could go to one of three people – Grant Hill, a producer who was involved with it early on; Brad Pitt, who came on to produce and then star; or Dede Gardner, Pitt's producing partner."
- "The Tree of Life: A Conversation With Producer Dede Gardner". thehdroom.com. October 13, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- Bhushan, Nyay (August 31, 2005). "Percept finds 'Life' with Malick feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 3, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
- Naval-Shetye, Aakanksha (May 17, 2006). "Guess who's coming to town!". Times of India. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "Arrival in The New World: Extended Cut". Blogtalkradio.com. October 29, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- Lim, Dennis (January 6, 2008). "If You Need a Past, He's the Guy to Build It". The New York Times.
- Exclusive: Malick's Tree Of Life. Empire. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Terrence Malick's THE TREE OF LIFE To Go IMAX? With Dinosaurs?, aintitcool.com, March 2, 2009
- McNary, Dave (April 15, 2008). "Chastain to star opposite Pitt in 'Tree'". Variety. Retrieved April 19, 2008.
- Garcia, Chris (March 25, 2008). "Gracia, Chris. "'Tree of Life' uprooted, briefly". ''austin360.com''". Austin360.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "Filming locations for Tree of Life" Internet Movie Database
- Wilonsky, Robert (December 16, 2010). "Terrence Malick Shot Tree of Life All Over Texas. Including, Turns Out, in Downtown.". DallasObserver.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "Ingram, Emily. "Part of downtown Waco shut down for film shoot". wacotrib.com". Retrieved January 26, 2012.[dead link]
- Hagerty, Terry. "Oak in 'Tree of Life' moved to downtown Smithville". The Bastrop Advertiser, February 9, 2008, pp 1A, 2A.
- Tree of Life. February 16, 2008.
- Planting the Tree of Life. February 17, 2008.
- Keegan, Rebecca (April 25, 2010). "TCM Festival: Hollywood Visionary Douglas Trumbull Working on Terrence Malick Movie". Vanity Fair (magazine).
- Hart, Hugh (June 17, 2011). "Video: Tree of Life Visualizes the Cosmos Without CGI". Wired (magazine).
- "Animation World Network: Giving VFX Birth to Tree of Life".
- Horn, John (May 25, 2011). "Terrence Malick looks to IMAX to extend 'Tree of Life' explorations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
- "TriPictures picks up Summit's Tree of Life, Letters to Juliet". Screen Daily. May 22, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael (August 6, 2009). "Pohlad, Berney unveil Apparition". Variety.
- Thompson, Anne (October 15, 2009). "Tree of Life Will Not Open in 2009". Indiewire.
- Thompson, Anne (April 20, 2010). "Cannes Updates: Fortnight, Critics Week, Carlos, Tree of Life". Indiewire. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Davis, Edward (April 15, 2010). "Don't Get Those 'Tree of Life' Hopes Up for Cannes 2010". The Playlist. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael (May 11, 2009). "Berney Exit Blindsides Apparition". Deadline.
- Fleming, Mike (June 30, 2010). "Apparition Restructures With 60% Staff Cut". Deadline. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael (September 7, 2010). "Apparition Cuts Staff, Nears 'Tree of Life' Distribution Deal". Deadline. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Thompson, Anne (September 13, 2010). "Waiting for Malick: Which Film Fest Will Debut Tree of Life?". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "Announced: Fox Searchlight Acquires Terrence Malick's TREE OF LIFE". Fox Searchlight Pictures. September 9, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
- Jagernauth, Kevin (October 22, 2010). "'The Tree Of Life' Gets May 27, 2011 Release Date". indieWire. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
- O'Hara, Helen (March 28, 2011). "The Tree of Life has A UK Release Date". Empire. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- "Rules & Regulations 2011". Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- Wells, Jeff (March 28, 2011). "UK Tree of Life Release: Shocker or Snafu?". Hollywood Elsewhere. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- Thompson, Anne (March 28, 2011). "Tree of Life Will Not Open in the U.K. Before Cannes After All, Gets New Poster". Indiewire. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- Thompson, Anne (March 31, 2011). "Summit Takes Icon UK to a Los Angeles Arbitration Tribunal Over Tree of Life". Indiewire. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- Wells, Jeff (March 28, 2011). "Icon Kicked to Curb". Hollywood Elsewhere. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- "New Tree Of Life Featurette Online and finally gets a UK release date". Empire. June 9, 2011.
- "The Tree of Life Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "Movie Starring Pitt, Penn Booed at Cannes", Evann Gastaldo. Newser. May 16, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011
- "Brad Pitt, Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" booed in Cannes". May 16, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
- Ditzian, Eric (May 16, 2011). "'The Tree Of Life': The Cannes Reviews Are In! Director Terrence Malick's first film in more than 20 years is getting widely mixed reactions after its Cannes premiere". Mtv. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "'Tree of Life' Sets Off Mixed Frenzy of Boos, Applause, Glowing Reviews (Cannes 2011)". The Hollywood Reporter. May 16, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- Germain, David (May 22, 2011). "Malick's 'Tree of Life' wins top Cannes fest honor". Forbes (Forbes publishing). Retrieved May 22, 2011.
- Gritten, David (May 24, 2011). "The Tree of Life demands to be seen and experienced". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- "FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics".
- "Sean Penn Has Issues But Recommends 'Tree Of Life'; Malick Says 'Burial' Is "Rushing Toward A Mix"". The Playlist. August 22, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
- Szalai, Georg (November 28, 2011). "Gotham Awards 2011: 'Tree of Life', 'Beginners' Tie for Best Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
- "The Tree of Life (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes.
- "The Tree of Life". Metacritic.
- "The Tree of Life". Chicago Sun-Times. June 2, 2011.
- "The greatest films of all time". Chicago Sun-Times. April 26, 2012.
- "The Tree of Life". The Guardian (London). December 16, 2010.
- Todd McCarthy (May 16, 2011). "The Tree of Life: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Justin Chang (May 16, 2011). "Cannes Competition: The Tree of Life". Variety.
- Peter Travers (May 26, 2011). "The Tree of Life". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "The Tree Of Life Review". Total Film. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- Corliss, Richard (December 7, 2011). "The Top 10 Everything of 2011 – The Tree of Life". Time. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Sukhdev Sandhu (July 7, 2011). "The Tree Of Life, review". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Lee Marshall. "The Tree Of Life". Screen Daily.
- Stephanie Zacharek. "CANNES REVIEW: Tree of Life Is All About Life; But Does Malick Care Much for People?". Movieline.
- Zeitchik, Steven (June 22, 2012). "David Lynch says he doesn't have any ideas for a new film". Los Angeles Times.
- Sean Penn on The Tree of Life: 'Terry never managed to explain it clearly', Guardian
- Penn on Malick, part deux, InContention
- Lodge, Guy (November 28, 2011). "'Tree of Life' easily tops Sight & Sound's Best of 2011 poll". In Contention. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- Kemp, Nicholas (December 16, 2011). "Film Comment". Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- "indieWIRE". Retrieved December 19, 2011.
- "LA Weekly". Retrieved December 21, 2011.
- "Film Critic Top 10 Lists – Best of 2011". Metacritic. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- "AACTA Awards winners and nominees". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). January 31, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- "Oscar 2012 winners – The full list". The Guardian. UK. February 27, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- "Nominees and Winners for the 84th Academy Awards". Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars). Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- "The American Society of Cinematographers Nominates". The ASC. January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Tapley, Kristopher (January 2, 2012). "'Tree of Life' leads the way with Central Ohio critics nominations". HitFix. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- "Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) - 2011 Awards". cofca.org. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- Lyman, Eric J. (April 12, 2012). "Marco Tulio Giordana Drama Earns 16 Nominations for Italy's Top Film Honors". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- Feinberg, Scott (September 12, 2012). "Hollywood Film Awards to Honor Judd Apatow and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Actress (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
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- Official website
- The Tree of Life at the Internet Movie Database
- The Tree of Life at Box Office Mojo
- The Tree of Life at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Tree of Life at Metacritic