The Tree of Life

2011 PG-13 2h 19m Blu-ray / DVD

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The Tree of Life

2011 PG-13 2h 19m Blu-ray / DVD
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Growing up in the Midwest, Jack has always been torn between his mother's guidance to approach everything he encounters with an open heart and his father's advice to look after his own interests. Now, Jack reflects on his past to regain perspective.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, Spanish (Neutral)
English: DTS 7.1 HD
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
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age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that, even more so than his previous movies, this drama from legendary and elusive director Terrence Malick is a work of poetic images rather than a cohesive, solid story. The main theme seems to be family relationships, but it all takes place within a huge universal context of infinite time, space, and even dreamscapes. There's the suggestion of simmering violence on the part of the father, but while he often yells, he very rarely lashes out physically. Language is minimal; a flashback sequence contains passing visual references to sexual reproduction. But even though there's not a huge amount of age-inappropriate content for teens, younger viewers are likely to be bored; this movie requires a great deal of patience and the ability to embrace new and unique cinematic encounters.

Sexual Content

There's something akin to a "creation of life" montage with some peripherally sexual images; viewers see a pregnant woman, and later they see her with her newborn baby.


Most of the violence is just under the surface. The father is constantly angry and threatening, but he rarely lashes out in a physical way -- though in one scene, he tries to slap one of his boys for talking back at the dinner table. A boy drowns in a swimming pool. A little blood is on display during a poetic flashback sequence. Two boys play with a BB gun, and one is shot in the finger. Other scenes include some mildly disturbing imagery.


"Hell," "my God," and one character says "get 'em by the nuts."

Social Behavior

The movie wrestles with some big and universal themes. The kids begin to behave badly, mainly in response to their father's all-encompassing anger and frustration. But when one grows up, he begins to realize that all things are connected, specifically families and nature. In a kind of dream/fantasy sequence, he learns empathy and tolerance for his family. In general, all of these themes -- and others -- are not literally outlined. They're up for interpretation and debate.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

In brief sequences, there are hints of secondary characters smoking, though none of the main characters or kids actually smokes.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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