Submitted by Evil Ed
Special visual effects supervised by Doug Trumbull.
Jack O’Brien (Sean Penn) is a successful architect but struggles with memories of his upbringing in Texas. His domineering father (Brad Pitt) and his loving mother (Jessica Chastain) provide conflicting views of how to embrace life. (Nature vs. Grace)
As we see flashbacks of young (Hunter McCracken) Jack’s life, we learn his brother R.L. (Laramie Eppler) dies at 19 years-old, and his friend Taylor drowns during his childhood. Young Jack goes through a rebellious phase while his father is on a business trip. When his father returns, the family has to move because the plant is closing. As they drive off, young Jack believes he is choosing the way of grace.
Interspersed through the film are visions of the birth of the universe, the rise of life on Earth, a moment of compassion when a dinosaur chooses not to kill a helpless foe, the asteroid that wipes out the dinosaurs, the expansion of the sun into a red giant, its collapse into a white dwarf, and the destruction of the Earth.
As Jack leaves work, he has visions of his dead parents and brother. As he moves through a rocky beachscape, he gives his brother to his parents. The visions end and Jack walks outside of his building and smiles. The film is bookended by a mysterious flickering flame surrounded by darkness.