What does the ending of The Tree of Life mean?
At the end of the movie, adult Jack (Sean Penn) wanders through a wasteland, goes through a doorway and ends up on a beach. There he shares the screen with his father (Brad Pitt) and Mrs. O’Brien (Jessica Chastain) concedes her son (presumably R.L.) to the higher power.
What does the ending mean?
The meaning, as far as I can tell, is that we are connected to our family even in death or at the end of the world. We have to take a leap, perhaps through "the doorway," to get over our doubts about the afterlife. The doorway is the transition from earthly skepticism of the permanence of the soul to an end where we are all -- consciously or unconsciously -- tied together to those with whom we shared life.
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What is the meaning of the film Tree of Life?The film chronicles the origins and meaning of life by way of a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with imagery of the origins of the known universe and the inception of life on Earth.
What is the moral of The Tree of Life?The Tree of Life tells us that all living creatures are related; that for billions of years, all life on Earth was microbial; that cooperation is essential for evolution; that horizontal gene transfer explains much of the diversity we see; and that, through extinction, some branches get cut down.
What is the beach scene in The Tree of Life about?For her, the beach was a representation of a bridge between this world and the afterlife, a "lean imagining," she said, and "a metaphor of crossing over." Water, which figures heavily in that scene, is an ideal image to symbolize the crossing over because it represents the creation of life in Catholic theology.
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My interpretation is that we have to take into consideration the other symbols that the director had been placing before us throughout the movie: the forces of such grand scale that dwarf our lives and our attempts to make sense of them. The beach is the connection between the water, the earth, and the heavens, and what we're seeing is a visual interpretation of the meeting point where our lives are intersecting with these greater forces, showing us and how we fit in the bigger picture. To me, it's a very naturalist, non-religious vision.