Analysis Of Terrence Malick 's The Tree Of Life

1356 Words Oct 27th, 2014 6 Pages
Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life focuses on Jack, played by Sean Penn as a man and Hunter McCracken as a boy, adrift in his life and reflecting on his childhood in 1950s Texas in a nearly two-and-a-half hour drama. Though the film is difficult to follow because of its highly experimental nature, the audience is left with impressions of the film’s spectacular visual and aural presence, both of which show evidence of the influence of Christianity, which is omnipresent in the American South. The theme is introduced at the beginning of the film by Mrs. O’Brien, played by Jessica Chastain, as she speaks in a gentle voice-over about the way of nature and the way of grace. In his book How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, famous American theologian Francis Schaeffer concluded that nature is as “the lower” while grace is “the higher” (Schaeffer 55). In the religious context of the film, this means that as nature is self-serving and representative of humans on earth while grace is other-serving and representative of God in heaven. This divide between the way of nature and the way of grace finds itself present in various aspects of the film. While Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life does not offer conventional evidence of the theme because of its experimental nature, the visuals, music, and underscoring of the film support the audience’s interpretation of the main theme of nature versus grace.

Terrence Malick’s interpretation of the…
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