About Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a complex study of the meaning of life as told through the visions of Jack O’Brien and his recollections of his childhood growing up in 1950s Texas. The Tree of Life begins with Jack working as an architect in the present day. His life seems to be adrift and he reflects over events in his past that have shaped the way he approaches his current life. The film presents its intricately woven storyline through the visions experienced by Jack. We see the drama unfold between his father and mother as they receive the news of the death of their other son, R. L., who died in Vietnam. Jack recalls the experiences he had growing up under the strict and unyielding influence of his father, a man who regrets not taking certain paths in his own life and treats his sons harshly to prepare them for what he considers to be a corrupt world. In contrast, Jack’s mother is gentle and nurturing toward her sons and attempts to paint the world around them as a joyous place to be happily explored. Amidst these recollections, we see images of the beginning of the universe and the Earth. Visions of volcanoes and life forming as microbes in the sea are set as a backdrop to Jack’s realisations as he grows up and discovers the complexities of the world around him. As Jack leaves his present-day office and rides down in the elevator, his final visions are of all the people he has ever known reuniting with him and his dead brother returning to life. He leaves work with that happy image and seems to have resolved the issues that have caused him to waver in his direction in life.