Title – To the Wonder (2013)
Director – Terrence Malik (Tree of Life)
Cast – Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
Plot – Terrence Malik’s latest artistic musing on life, love, death, faith and all things in between. To the Wonder centres around the relationship of Marina (Kurylenko) and Neil (Affleck). After meeting in Europe Marina moves to the USA to live with Neil, their relationship endures it’s up’s and it’s downs encompassing also priest Father Quintana (Bardem) questioning his faith and one of Neil’s old flames Jane (McAdams).
“Life’s a dream. In dream you can’t make mistakes. In dream you can be whatever you want.”
Review by Eddie on 8/07/2013
Disclaimer – if you don’t like movies with non-linear stories/not being spoon-fed your information do not watch To the Wonder or any Malik films to that matter.
What would cinema be without artists like Terrence Malik? It would be an even more generic and CGI infested art than it already is. I watched To the Wonder at perhaps the perfect time. After a string of misfires and missed opportunities spanning from The Great Gatsby through to Man Of Steel 2013 has been another average year on the viewing cards so far, a year filled with nothing out of the ordinary no one taking risks that pay off. To the Wonder while perhaps being a lesser Malik film has more heart and originality that a bucket load of other Hollywood made films.
To the Wonder can’t be pigeonholed into a specific film, as per usual Malik is more interested in presenting his stories with images and slight voice overs than have his characters express themselves through your usual dialogue. The way Malik does this though in no way hampers the involvement in the tale and if anything as in his previous masterpieces enhances the viewer’s attachment as they feel like witnesses to these events not just a spectator.
Malik is now days widely regarded one of the most artistic directors to ever have worked in the industry, his ability to capture not only nature but also the most mundane of things with a freshness and believability is an awe inspiring feat – never has American small town life seemed so beautiful or the fields of roaming buffalos seemed so serine and peaceful. To the Wonder is like nothing you’ll see again this year or likely until the auteurs next effort.
Despite the beauty and freshness of the film not everything about To the Wonder works as well as other Malik films have. The performance by Affleck is almost distractingly distant and cold, the females in the film completely overshadowing him. It must also be said that the inclusion of Bardem as a questioning priest seems slightly tacked on, although it could be argued his character plays an small but significant role in what Malik is looking into with his film.
In conclusion if anyone loves Malik you will love this film, it’s a dream to look at and a great ode to love, faith and life in all its good and bad. By now you should know if you love or loathe a Malik film, for all the lovers it’s like a catch up with an old dear friend, a breath of fresh air after the staleness that has been in between the last catch up.
4 turtles out of 5