Where Is My Tree of Life Review?

A lot of folks have been asking why I haven’t posted my review of Terrence Malick’s new, Palme d’Or-winning film The Tree of Life.

I appreciate the enthusiasm. My zeal for Malick’s film The New World may have created the impression that my life comes to a standstill when the reclusive director releases a new film. But that’s overstating it. I admire all of Malick’s films, yes, but I only feel a great passion for The New World. I’ve been eager to see The Tree of Life, but the trailer made me apprehensive, so I kept my expectations from rising to unreasonable levels… and I’m glad I did.

It’s true, I saw the film a week ago today at a Seattle press screening, accompanied by two dear friends – the novelist Robert Clark and the program director of Seattle Pacific’s MFA in Creative Writing program Dyana Herron. It was a wonderful evening. The film is still glimmering in the back of my mind. And I’ll be encouraging people to see it on the biggest screen they can find.

But I can’t review it yet. I was originally sworn to withhold my review until its Seattle opening in mid-June. Since I write for national publications, I asked for permission to post earlier. Now, I’m permitted to speak out on May 27th. So stay tuned. I’ll probably post my first-impression thoughts at Filmwell and at the website for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine. Later, I’ll have more to say at Image.

So even though there are a zillion reviews already published, my agreement must be honored for a few more days.

In the meantime, I’m quite fond of these reviews:

And to be honest, The Tree of Life, like Certified Copy (my favorite film of the year so far), is so challenging that I’ll be thinking about them and writing about it for years to come. So my review will only be a record of first impressions.

For now, I’ll just say this: The New World has been my favorite Terrence Malick film so far, and it stands among my top five favorite films of all time. The Tree of Life increased my appreciation for The New World – its innovations and strengths – quite a bit.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.