Brad Pitt’s The Tree of Life trailer premieres

The trailer for the new Brad Pitt and Sean Penn film, The Tree of Life, debuted online and it’s nothing if not visually stunning.

The Tree of Life trailer opens with gorgeous shots from space and a baby’s foot in a parent’s hand. It’s full of shots that would work well in any Nova special or Rockwell painting. Brad Pitt plays the father of a little boy who grows up to be Sean Penn. [There’s something to contemplate.] Jessica Chastain plays his mother and narrates through the piece.

Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life

You can’t tell much about the story from the movie trailer, which makes it one of the better ones out there, and a lesson for certain romantic comedies who shall remain nameless. That said, here is what we do know. We are told that there are only two ways to go through life. One is the path of nature and the other grace.

Brad Pitt’s character is tough on his young son, to make him strong as he makes his way. His mother is softer and more spiritual, musing on how her son will be tall before the tree planted in his honor. The boy says, “Father, mother. Always you wrestle inside me.”

Next we see an adult Sean Penn, contemplating the way his life is going and trying to resolve a difficult relationship with his father by looking at creation. Again, there are lovely shots that would make any coffee table book envious. You know those moments where you’re in the middle of a conversation but an ant walking across your hand makes you stop and contemplate the universe? The trailer is full of them — a spiral shot of stained glass windows, a particularly haunting image of children playing in a cloud of DDT released from a truck. Director Terrence Malick’s description of this as “a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith” is clear, and beautifully done in Malick’s signature style.

The Tree of Life will be released on May 27, 2011.

The Tree of Life trailer


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