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In Response to RE: Tree of Life by janice0927 Thanks Janice....somehow I couldn't find the old discussion. The review was great. I since went on Wikipedia to find out more about the director and sure enough the film uses some of his memories of his childhood growing up in Waco, Texas with a strict immigrant father and a musically gifted brother. His brother studied with Andreas Segovia and then committed suicide (allegedly because he could not live up to his own expectations as a guitarist)...a highly original film in it's use of imagery and a return to the old kind of special effects (not computer generated) I read too. I was glad I knew Sean Penn was the grown up child and Brad Pitt the father from long ago.....otherwise I might have found it confusing since Penn appears older than Pitt!
I definitely think the film has a plot and shows the conflict between nature (the kind that is "red in tooth and claw") and grace (spiritual life as embodyed in the mother and the biblical story of Job which is referenced in the movie) The figure of the father played by Pitt is conflictual for the son since he is "nature" both rebelled against and adored. The plot is advanced through imagery rather than conventional plot structure ...there are also voiceovers to advance the dramatic arc. Totally unusual use of cinematography with a definite dream like quality.