Embedded with deep emotion and amazing visual expression, this intricately crafted family drama chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of Jack O'Brien, a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in Waco, Texas in the 1950s, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth.
Jack's life has been shaped largely by his formative growing-up period in suburban Waco, Texas with his parents, and his two younger brothers, R.L. and Steve. It is primarily the dichotomy between his parents that is causing an emotional conflict within him, now specifically with his father.
Although both his parents loved him and his siblings, they demonstrated that love in different ways which was often at odds with each other. His mother was overly caring and nurturing, and tried to provide a sense of wonderment about the world to her children. His father was unbending, and did not tolerate disobedience as he wanted to prepare his children practically for a difficult world.
Mr. O'Brien's actions were also shaped by his own internal conflicts about what he did and what he wanted to do in life. Middle-aged Jack's current thoughts also reflect back on the death of his brother R.L., who was killed in military duty at age nineteen. This thought-provoking tale explores existential questions about the meaning and origin of life, expressed through extraordinary visuals.
Did you know?
Much of the film parallels writer/director Terrence Malick's own life. Like Jack, he grew up with two brothers in rural Texas; their father, Emil, was an aspiring musician who went to work as a geologist for an oil company, and found an outlet for his artistic talent by playing the organ at his family's church. Malick outlived both of his brothers: Lawrence R. Malick committed suicide in Europe at age 19 while studying to be a musician; and Chris Malick died in 2008 at age 60, several years after being severely burned in a car crash in Mexico that killed his wife (the telegram that Mrs. O'Brien receives indicates that R.L. died in a car crash). Both of Malick's parents were still alive in 2011 when the film was released. His mother, Irene Malick, even attended the premiere, though Malick himself did not. Read More