The Tree of Life: Written and directed by Terrence Malick

For years, rumors abounded that the brilliant and reclusive writer-director Terrence Malick was working on a screenplay version of the book of Genesis. This would sound like a daunting undertaking for most people, but it actually seemed apt for the director of Days of Heaven and The New World, given his penchant for luxurious shots of nature, extensive use of voice-over and enough religious symbolism that audiences are tempted to genuflect.

Though Genesis: The Movie has not yet come to fruition, The Tree of Life comes close to being such a film. Think of it as the book of O'Brien, after the 1950s southern family that occupies the center of the film and comes to represent the dreams, joys and disappointments of humankind.