Visiting Texas – The Tree of Life Experience

Two Ways Through Life - The Tree of Life (2011) Film Enthusiast

In March 2019, my wife, daughters, and I set out from Wisconsin to visit Texas for one week. It was a memorable trip that I am grateful for. Since first watching The Tree of Life, visiting Texas to experience where the film took place became a goal.

Among the highlights for me was visiting many of the filming locations of The Tree of Life. While much of the filming took place in Smithville, TX, scenes were also shot in Houston, La Grange, and Austin in addition to several out of state and international shots.


We spent time in Houston visiting my wife’s cousin on Saturday evening, Sunday, and Monday morning. We checked out the Space Center Houston, toured downtown Galveston, and the Houston Zoo.

Although I knew the scenes with Sean Penn included the Houston cityscape, I did not visit the exact locations. On the way out of Houston…

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‘It takes fierce will to get ahead in this world’ – The Tree of Life (2011)

Two Ways Through Life - The Tree of Life (2011) Film Enthusiast

Mr. O’Brien: Your mother’s naive.

Father playing “Red Hands or The Hand Slap Game” (Whoa!)

It takes fierce will to get ahead in this world.

If you’re good, people take advantage of you.

Every one of these top executives — you know how they got where they are?

Floated right down the middle of the river.

Don’t let anyone tell you there’s anything you can’t do.

Don’t do like I did. Promise me that.

I dreamed of being a great musician.

I let myself get sidetracked. If you’re lookin’ for somethin’ to happen, that was it.

That was life. You lived it.

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