YMMV / The Tree of Life

  • Award Snub:
    • Its Best Picture and Best Director nominations were a pleasant surprise, but the lack of a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Brad Pitt is a bit of a shame. The lack of nomination for Best Visual Effects was even more incomprehensible.
    • The overdue Emmanuel Lubezki had practically swept the awards season for his gorgeous cinematography, yet lost the Oscar in an upset to Robert Richardson for Hugo.
  • Awesome Music: You want operatic classical music. WE'VE GOT OPERATIC CLASSICAL MUSIC!!
  • Critical Dissonance: Egads. Despite winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 and being one of the most well received films of that year by critics (and going far beyond that, with some even calling it one of the best films of the decade), it also earned a significant backlash from mainstream audiences. For example, the Rotten Tomatoes score on the audience's side is barely at 60% while critics is at a very healthy 84%. General consensus on the negative side of the spectrum seems to be that the film is pretentious and deliberately incomprehensible, attempting to lend gravity on a cosmic scale to earthly subjects that many consider almost inherently boring.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Mrs. Obrien, in a role that helped propel the actress Jessica Chastain (along with other performances in a very prolific 2011) from relative unknown to indie film royalty.
  • Hype Backlash: As noted in Critical Dissonance, some felt that the hype the film gained wasn't all that deserving.
  • Memetic Mutation: "You are ALLOWED to live here!"
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Melancholia is regarded as this, to the point where it gained the status as this movie's rival. As The Tree of Life concerns about the correlation of humanity's empathy to the creation of the universe, Melancholia concerns about the correlation of humanity's cruelty to the end of the universe. Both being arthouse films with several shots of the universe with special effects didn't help.
  • Tear Jerker: Terrence Malick is usually known for emotionally distant films, making it all the more surprising that this is the closest he's gone to outright tear-jerker mode.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: A common response from those who disliked the film. Expect the word "pretentious" to get thrown around. A lot.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Awesome doesn't even come close to describing it. Douglas Trumbull, VFX artist from 2001: A Space Odyssey was dragged out of retirement because Malick didn't like what modern CGI artists were doing (or more accurately: modern CGInote ). Even Brad Jones, who spent over a half hour bashing the film, thought the visuals were flawless.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The ending. See Trippy Finale Syndrome for more details.