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Seriously Good

Enlightenment springs from an unlikely source.

Jul 25, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 42 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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We learn all this elliptically rather than straightforwardly, as we dip in and out of Penn’s memories and see him grapple with earthly temptations—jealousy, anger, violence, cruelty—while being reminded to follow the “way of grace” by his saintly and ethereal mother. Maddening though it is, the seriousness and deep intelligence with which Malik addresses the intertwining of the divine and the earthly helps The Tree of Life transcend its own pretensions and become something glorious. 

As Mel Brooks’s critic says, “It’s symbolic.” But The Tree of Life is the opposite of junk.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is The Weekly Standard’s movie critic.

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