The Tree of Life: Eric Nevins and Growing Up in a Broken, Glory-Filled World

The Tree of Life Movie Review on Christian Movie Podcast Cinematic Doctrine Popcorn Theology
The Tree of Life – Eric Nevins and Growing Up in a Broken, Glory-Filled World

Eric Nevins from the Halfway There Podcast, and the Christian Podcast Association, joins Melvin and Dan in discussing one of Terrance Malick’s most popular films, if not his most popular film ever! Semi-autobiographical, semi-retelling of the book of Job, semi-conventional narrative; The Tree of Life offers a lot to chew on, and the three of them eagerly dive in!


  • (PATREON EXCLUSIVE) 28-minutes detailing movies we’ve changed opinion on, both films we’ve liked and now dislike and also disliked but now like, and why. (PATREON EXCLUSIVE)
  • Eric shares about his podcast, what drew him to amplifying Christian voices, and the particular way he prefers to do it.
  • The Tree of Life, as Melvin puts it, is usually someone’s pastor’s favorite movie.
  • While everyone watched The Tree of Life for the episode, Melvin specifically watched the extended cut of The Tree of Life exclusive to its Criterion release. It contains an additional 50+ minutes.
  • The Tree of Life requires a bit of work from its audience, demanding they put in some effort in to comprehending its floating imagery, whispered monologues, and near-constant Christian allusions.
  • There’s a very clear, very obvious three-act structure to The Tree of Life, and each part of the film offers something different in terms of style and engagement. The second act is largely what people will connect with.
  • Eric, Daniel, and Melvin each discuss The Tree of Life’s artistically ambiguous ending, and what it means to them.
  • Terrence Malick as a storyteller is routinely critical of industrialization, often using nature and natural beauty to showcase tranquility, glory, and peace.
  • The Tree of Life keeps in conversation two ideas: the Way of Nature and the Way of Grace. The gang tries to discern what these represent, and how they communicate.


The Tree of Life is Rated PG-13 for some thematic material. It features Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, and Tye Sheridan. Directed by Terrance Malick. The Tree of Life is available here.

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Melvin Benson Cinematic Doctrine Christian Movie Podcast Host

Melvin Benson is the Founder, Editor-In-Chief, and Lead Host of Cinematic Doctrine. He’s written fiction and nonfiction for over a decade with short stories featured on the Creepypasta Wiki and Wattpad. His novelette Ethereal Temptation, a teen drama with a tinge of magical-realism, can be read for free here. His hope is to see King Jesus glorified as far as the east is from the west!

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