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The Tree of Life (2011)

The Tree of Life has quickly become one of the most talked-about movies ever made. And although it isn’t my favorite of Terrence Malick’s films—that distinction belongs to The New World—I’ve been invited to discuss this movie on more occasions than any other movie… so often, in fact, that I’m eager to take a break from the chatter and the movie, let it go for a while, and return to it with fresh eyes someday in the distant future.

But here is a record of a variety of conversations and commentaries…

Let’s begin with a link to a Kindlings Muse podcast of my discussion of The Tree of Life with Dr. Chris Chaney of Seattle Pacific University and show host Jennie Spohr:

In addition, I’ve written several commentaries on The Tree of Life. 

First, I referred to it in a post at the blog Good Letters about the “handmade” quality of its amazing special effects.

Then, I published a two-part, first-impression reviews at Good Letters.

After that, I saw the film seven more times. And during that time, I grew to love the film’s strengths even more, and my quibbles with it became even smaller.

So you can read some of my more recent responses to, or defenses of, the film here:

A response to the “scandal” of Sean Penn’s critical remarks about the film:

A celebration of the release of the blu-ray:


I highly recommend this reflection by Vic Sizemore: “Tree of Light.”

And these:

And here are some more thought-provoking reviews:

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The Tree of Life: My First Impressions

Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is an author and a teacher. His books include a cinematic memoir (Through a Screen Darkly, Regal, 2007) and a four-volume fantasy epic (The Auralia Thread, Random House, 2007-11). For more than 15 years he has lectured at universities, conferences, and churches in the U.S. and abroad. His writing on faith and art, recognized by The New Yorker and indieWire, has been published in Christianity Today and Image (where he has been a columnist); and in Books & Culture, Comment, Paste, and more. He's earning a masters in creative writing at SPU. Want to invite him to teach or speak about creative writing or cinema? Email