My quick and dirty review is: WTF?
The pluses: It is beautifully acted and filmed. Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Hunter McCracken are great. Sean Penn is always great, but it's not like he has a lot to do here.
The film addresses the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien (Pitt and Chastain), their three children, Mr. O'Brien's engineering and musical brilliance as well as his abusive nature, the formation of the earth, the cooling of the earth, dinosaurs, the fucked-uppedness of the eldest O'Brien son Jack, and the death of the middle son R.L. at age 19. R.L.'s death is pivotal to the movie, and between volcanoes and creation scenes I kept thinking they were going to let me know how and why. They didn't. Even after 2-1/2 hours. The bastards.
I am now hungry for some mindless action flick that lets me know in no uncertain terms what the hell is going on. Or a root canal. Please do not make me watch The Tree of Life again.