Movie Metaview: The Tree Of Life

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Faith, Movies
Tags: , , , ,

“Unless you love, your life will flash by.”


Terence Malick’s elegant work of art (this is so much more than a “film”) leads us through young Jack O’Brien’s grasping of life and all it entails. LOSS (the death of a brother, missed opportunities afforded by his father’s failings), LOVE (his father still loves him hugely, his mother is the Grace to his father’s Law), and LEGACY (how this has shaped Jack as an older man).

Malick is not afraid to point the way to God, quoting from Him directly via the book of Job, and referring to Him indirectly via Mrs O’Brien’s perspective. There is an overwhelming urge to show the audience that life is so much more than mere existence, and that there is purpose. Not in the way Jack’s Grandmother “consoles” her daughter with dire platitudes as they grieve R.L., but in that God is still benevolent and involved, and peace comes through the acceptance of such.

The film stops there in terms of message, but this does still signpost to a greater yearning within each of us. The film’s scrutinising of LOSS, LOVE and LEGACY tells us more:

LOSS: we all sense emptiness, grief, tragedy, hunger, reasons to lament. Life is not easy. Something isn’t right. The universe groans, and it starts within us.

LOVE: God by pure nature overflows with love (Father, Son and Spirit revelling in each other for all time) – that is why He created, and that is why God the Son gave Himself to bridge the chasm between Him and our imperfection (1 John 4.8-10).

LEGACY: We have a choice – choose the legacy of Self and its consequences (no eternal peace with God), or the legacy of the Son (eternal peace, co-heirs to His kingdom).

The Tree Of Life reminds us life is not about us. It’s about others. More importantly, it’s about Someone else.

“Unless you love, your life will flash by.”


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