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The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life (2008)



Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 106

My Rating

Movie Info

"The Tree Of Life," Hava Volterra's new documentary about her journey to Italy to trace the roots of her Jewish ancestors is a personal family saga that illuminates the fascinating history of the Jews of Italy. The film follows the Israeli-born director, an engineer in Los Angeles, as she struggles to come to terms with her father's death by traveling to Italy, the land of his birth, to trace the roots of his family tree. Beginning in the ancient Adriatic city of Ancona, Volterra and her feisty


Documentary, Drama, Special Interest

May 6, 2008

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (12) | DVD (1)

It's a sympathetic notion, to be sure, but it leaves one feeling you're on the couch with Volterra, not on a roots quest.

October 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Volterra's] affinity for Italian stereotypes is countered with delightful truculence by the film's most engaging character, her down-to-earth octogenarian aunt Viviana.

October 23, 2008 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ms. Volterra, acting as narrator and interviewee herself, can't seem to resist the urge to be the star of her own film, which too often feels like a wearisome exercise in self-therapy.

September 12, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's clear why Volterra would have felt driven to make such a film. It's less clear why anyone not related to her would pay to see it.

September 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smacks of an audition exercise.

February 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Byler has a knack for elegant composition, as well as the hazy middle ground between friendship and friendship with a sexual asterisk.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Vivid animation, illustrations and puppetry lighten up interviews and elementary reflections on a personal history of Jews in Italy, better left to a family reunion.

November 1, 2008 Full Review Source:

While Hava probably gained a lot from the experience of making The Tree of Life, the audience will gain demonstrably less.

September 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Yet another example of therapy masquerading as documentary.

September 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Moments of uncommon creativity and poignancy, but often coming dangerously close to crossing the line between biopic and home movies.

September 7, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

...absorbing, mysterious, lyrical and distinctively titillating...a moody masterpiece that is thrillingly alarming...[a] tale of wandering hedonism and anguish

May 5, 2008 Full Review
World Voice News

A character study about characters I never cared about, Tre features actors whose acting shows. Never for a minute did I buy that the characters they were trying to create were real.

March 31, 2008 Full Review
Internet Reviews

There's a strange sort of vacuousness to Tre, Eric Byler's newest installment on relationships amidst directionless twentysomethings.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

I think Byler is at his best when he directs material he writes on his own, and he's at the top of his game with Tre.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinematical

[Byler] ventures into Douglas Sirk territory with astonishing skill (not an easy task), presenting this potential melodrama with gravity and intelligence.

February 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A smart and incisive look at contemporary relationships that avoids all the cliches that one might expect to find

February 7, 2008 Full Review Source:

After a promising start with Charlotte Sometimes, Byler fumbles big time with this slow-moving, even irritating sophomore effort.

February 7, 2008

It's difficult to care who couples or uncouples throughout this relationship drama since the combinations are always completely unappealing.

January 31, 2008 Full Review Source:

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Foreign Titles

  • The Tree of Life (2008) (DE)
  • The Tree of Life (2008) (UK)
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