The Tree of Life
Character: Mrs. O'Brien
Directed by: Terrence Malick
Written by: Terrence Malick
Produced by: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, William Pohlad
Other cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Hunter McCracken, Fiona Shaw
Release date: May 27, 2011
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Running time: 2h 19min

In this highly philosophical film by acclaimed director Terrence Malick, young Jack is one of three brothers growing up as part of the O'Brien family in small-town Texas. Jack has a contentious relationship with his father, but gets along well with his beautiful mother. As an adult, Jack (Sean Penn) struggles with his past and tries to make sense of his childhood, while also grappling with bigger existential issues.


♦ The butterfly that landed on Mrs. O’Brien’s (Jessica Chastain) hands was not CG but a real one. One morning while both Chastain and Brad Pitt were rehearsing, Terrence Malick spotted it flying around. He got the crew and Chastain following it three blocks of Smithville, then got her to step into the middle of a street and hold her hand up.

Character’s Quotes

• [voice over] Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.
• [voice over] The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love, your life will flash by.
• [voice over] Do good to them. Wonder. Hope.
• [voice over] The nuns taught us there are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it, too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it, when love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you. Whatever comes.