No, it won’t be written by me. :)

Instead, I’ll direct you to a lucid exposition of a key scene (perhaps the key scene) from Terence Malick’s 2011 film, The Tree of Life.

Solid, solid criticism:

To be sure, the nature/grace dichotomy is handy for charting how Jack understands his parents’ personalities—i.e. Brad Pitt’s stern Mr. O’Brien = nature while Jessica Chastain’s gentle Mrs. O’Brien = grace—as well as the internal tensions that make Jack who he is.  (The validity of this interpretive schema seems to be at least semi-confirmed by the adult Jack’s late-in-the-film voiceover: “Mother.  Father.  Always you wrestle inside me.  Always you will.”)  But the dinosaur scene serves up a pretty clear signal that the nuns’ assertion is at least somewhat out of whack: you’d have to work pretty hard to find a critter that’s a purer product of nature, redder in tooth and claw, and less, y’know, christlike than a predatory bipedal dinosaur, and yet the film presents us with the spectacle of just such a beast acting against what we have to assume are its best interests when it mercifully passes up an easy meal.  (Unless of course the helpless parasaur is totally infected with like listeria or something—in which case, clever girl!—but I don’t think that’s the most fruitful reading of the scene.)

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