Seeing as God Sees

Reassessing Malick's 'The Tree of Life'

"Against the background of my own instinctive wariness about supposing you can get a hold on everything at once, it was fascinating to watch Terrence Malick’s 2011 film The Tree of Life. It is an extraordinary film—too long, perhaps, but beautiful, baffling, strangely compelling. And one way of understanding it is as an attempt to present a vision of, precisely, everything." So writes Karen Kilby in her piece on the compelling and elusive film -- ideas that are echoed in contributions from Luke Timothy Johnson and Bernard G. Prusak. Follows the links below to read all of the essays in our special feature on The Tree of Life.

(Funding for these essays was provided by a Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.)

'How All Things Fit Together'

Is it part of being a Christian to have a vision of the whole of things? Does faith give you a perspective on everything? Does it provide a unified story, a vision of how all things fit together...

'The Use of Cinema to Do Theology'

The Tree of Life may or may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it is certainly one of the most impressive attempts to use cinema to do theology. Many critics were swayed by the film’s...

What Is He Up To?

Philosophers who have written about the films of Terrence Malick typically note three biographical facts. First: Malick studied under the philosopher Stanley Cavell at Harvard, from which he...


External Reading