This is the new education from the Tree of Life.

Up to six feet long and bright blue in life, but evidently not good eating (they had long been known to the locals), these dramatic fish, with their dramatic identification, gave a whole new meaning to the term "living fossil." Smith said that he could not have been more surprised if he had seen a dinosaur walking down the street.

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I appreciate this article especially because it evidences how the movie consistently points to a Christian understanding of love. I was tempted to chalk up the ending to an introspective overview of the lead character's life, as many reviews do. But realized I was trying to reconcile the fact that well-paid movie stars are involved in what is a mind-blowing tribute to God's glory and grace. It is revealing of my own preconceptions of how God is revealed through a work of art, which happens to be produced via Hollywood. I look forward to seeing The Tree of Life again after having read this review.

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This is a wonderfully intelligent review and one that gets to the heart of the movie better than any others that I have read. Two things I would add: the adolescent Jack's observation that "What I want to do, I can't do. I do what I hate" (a clear reference to Romans 7:15), another key moment in the confessional arc of the story. The other is the title which is wonderfully suggestive in myriad ways, but which surely recalls the archetypal garden, with its tree of knowledge of good and evil (nature; human nature) and the tree of life (grace; communion); the whole biblical story tracks between loss of access to the tree of life in Eden and recovery of ultimate access to that tree, with its nurturing fruits and healing leaves, at the end of time. Malick works wonders with literary and visual iconography from the first frame to the last. The film's language is that of the 'old, old story' -- made new and personal and potent for a modern audience.

We can learn it from the Tree of Life, seeing these worlds assimultaneous, overlapping, interpenetrating dimensions in our every daylife.

The Tree of Life | Books and Culture

And those systems that do exist, are mainly descriptions andanalysis, linear vehicles - themselves from the Tree of Knowledge - thatrarely can transport the seeker to the ever-present dimension of the Treeof Life.

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Judaism and Jewish mysticism in particular tried to warn us about"falling" into seeing everything through duality, by planting the story ofthe Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life at thebeginning of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).

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Thank you for such a fine review of "The Tree of Life." I will reflect more on your review and see the movie again. I was also watching for how the themes of nature and grace interact (Thanks for the references to a Kempis and Marilynne Robinson.) I'm a little uncomfortable with assigning nature to the Father and grace to the Mother. The movie does that though. Yet the movie also realistically shows grace and nature intermingling, in the Father, in all the characters, and in the creation/nature itself. (I suppose we can't really equate nature with force and grace with tenderness. There is overlap and intermingling.) One other thing: I read up a bit on Heidegger since Malick has studied him and even translated one of his works. According to Fergus Kerr, in _Immortal Longings: Versions of Transcending Humanity_, Heidegger has a Quaternity which is a square dance between earth, sky, divinities and death. There is nothing Transcending, only immanence.

Kristen Scharold The Tree of Life "Love every leaf, every ray of God's light." ..

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Great review, one of the best I've come across. You've done a masterful job of evoking the emotional and spiritual tone of the movie, something most reviewers have failed to do. I can't claim credit for this observation - it comes from a former professor of mine - but it's too good not to share. It was his opinion that _The Tree of Life_ is a deeply Catholic film, and that the last line (the mother saying "I give you my son") suggests that God does not ask us to do what he has not already done himself. The mother is able to give up her son, as God gave up Christ to death on a cross. I think the film lends itself most strongly to a deep Christian reading on account of the overwhelmingly Christian connotations of the concepts of nature (in a limited sense) and grace in opposition, if for no other reason. It is also interesting to note that Malick's wife is a serious Catholic. Thanks again for the review!

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The Tree of Life is vertical,holistic, multi-dimensional, simultaneous, overlapping, interpenetrating,beyond time and space, ever present in the here and now moment.