To the Wonder
A romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.
So here goes. Be warned, this is from the perspective of a fanboy.
I watched this at the Friday night premiere in my city with a friend, and it was likely the most packed it's ever been for a Malick film, about 15 people. Although i may not go to the cinema regularly, it is likely the best cinema experience i have ever had. This is my first attempt at reviewing a Terrence Malick film on here, i think it will be extremely difficult to touch on just how transcendent his work is, but i will try.
You've probably heard reviews and snippets no doubt, that To The Wonder is the most experimental of his films to date, Affleck remarked…
I might have more to say about this at another time, or not; I'm really not a Malick expert. For now:
1) Well, at least they're not rolling around in the grass all the time now. Malick's self-calcification into a certain set of tics (communal voiceover aside) seems to have been broken with this film. Malick is famously interested in (or perceived as being interested in) Transcendence and Immanence on a large scale, but the emotions in To The Wonder are primarily (even ferociously) negative. The bubbling discontent throughout is mostly Olga Kurylenko's, and Malick's freakishly good at visualizing unarticulated discontent visually, with her lurking in suburban houses' shadows or visibly barely keeping it together during banal suburban interactions with…
It took me a while after watching to gather my thoughts and senses enough to get to grips with what I'd just seen.
To the Wonder is a "close relative" to The Tree of Life, but I think I liked this one more. Malick is always an acquired taste, and not something you watch with people who don't know how to shut up. Not that you'd miss much dialogue, it is extremely sparse with words, other than the inner dialogues of the women and the priest. In addition we get treated to four different languages (I can practically hear the groans from the anti-subtitles mob from where I'm sitting), mostly delivered in sentences of four words or less. Kurylenko blew…
"On montait les marches à la Merveille -to the wonder-"
For his latest movie, Malick wanted to use a wonder, a defined place to illustrate his vision of Eden, where a man and a woman meet and stroll consciously, thinking about love between two tides : a rock in the middle of Normandy bay, le mont St Michel. The perfect place -very redundant, shape and symbolism wise- to illustrate a certain state of being clintched to the ground. A place where the director closes the loop where the story begins.
How did Malick get so hungry lately ? This year tends to be a real exception for his filmography, but this envy doesn't mean he will get easier to comprehend.…
Whereas The Tree of Life was a macro view of God, the Universe, and Everything, To The Wonder exponentially increases both the magnification and the focus, leaving an intimate, blurry picture not of our place in the physical realm, but in the emotional one. Instead of asking what makes the world work, he asks what makes a human work. The answer he comes up with is love; or, more specifically, our unending search for it.
While I don't think I've been able to grasp anywhere near all the intricacies of Malick's latest and most abstract film yet after a single viewing, it's hard to argue that it's not a beautiful and impressive-looking film, and I fear that its scope operates…
To the Wonder is Terrence Malick’s ambitiously avant-garde, freeform ode to love, overflowing with pirouettes and orchestral crescendos, whose aesthetic beauty unfortunately outweighs the human element of the story, conjuring up an emotional void in the process. The film seems more intent on reveling in its audio-visual splendor than casting out the vagueness of its characters, most of whom are not that much interesting in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the imagery is arrestingly sublime, albeit monotonous and almost skirts in to self-parody as the director unabashedly recycles motifs that have graced his previous works, particularly The Tree of Life, now shown here for the nth time. Malick’s latest opus left me cold which is unprecedented as I’ve hitherto never been…
Beautiful as always. Camera was outstanding. Better than expected.
Έρωτας είναι αυτό που βρίσκεται κάπου ανάμεσα στις χαμένες ευκαιρίες του Wong Kar-wai και στις ποιητικές αφηγήσεις του Malick. Φέτος δεν τους πέτυχε απόλυτα, αλλά παραμένει έρωτας.
Επίσης, η Kurylenko είναι αναπόσπαστο στοιχείο της φύσης.
Cuando nos concentramos en lo visual no veremos nada que no sea arte, una película que sin sus efectos sensoriales no es nada, carente de narrativa y diálogo, la única manera de seguir la historia es observando y admirando cada imagen sin perder la paciencia, lo malo, es que es increíblemente tediosa.
TO THE WONDER, TO THE WALL!
TILL THE SWEAT DROP DOWN MY BALLS.
TILL ALL THESE BITCHES CRAWL.
TILL ALL SKEE SKEE MOTHERFUCKERS,
ALL SKEE SKEE GOT DOWN.
TILL ALL SKEE SKEE MOTHERFUCKERS,
ALL SKEE SKEE GOT DOWN.
Um... sorry, couldn't help my self.
Over to my thoughts on the film...
There were things I loved, and things I didn't. The general story of Affleck and Kurylenko was great, but Bardem's part did nothing for me. The technical stuff is definitely on point. The film is just stunning to look at, and the editing is what you'd expect. Great.
The film did get a little boring by the end though. I'm sorry to say, this (to me) is actually one of Malick's worst. I will watch it again though. Can't wait to see it at home and really take in everything again, especially that scene with Olga being all naked and stuff. That shit needs to be analyzed.
Terrence Malick triple feature.........
To The Wonder ( 2013 ) 4/5
Days of Heaven ( 1978 ) 4/5
Badlands ( 1973 ) 4.5/5
Because I'm in tune with what Malick does, I liked his new voice-over saturated existential extravaganza To The Wonder, but I can see how this could try the patience of even some of his most faithful fans. Vague to the point of ridiculousness, I've heard some pundits say this was almost a parody of a Malick arthouse film. The last 3 of his films I dip into usually once a year, and I will no doubt get the DVD and do the same with this. But with a little less anticipation.
To my surprise, a few of…
Malick still used his style of shooting beautiful frames with beautiful background, little but meaningful gestures and movements. It rarely used an actual dialogue, but most of all used poetic narrations who shows the love triangle story. It’s been said that the actors acted without actual script. And that’s why I thought, editing wise, that the images were pretty generic sometimes, though the narrations told us something big happens.
First Malick I did not like very much.
To the Wonder operates on the belief that love is mystical, even spiritual. Terrence Malick does his usual stripping away—there are few extended bits of dialogue and only a vague sense of plot. The audience is left to contemplate the images themselves, albeit with freewheeling voiceovers lending some thematic help. To the Wonder's dominant image: an adult female spinning around in circles before falling to the ground, smiling, pulling her partner (a stiff-limbed Ben Affleck) down with her. This is love, apparently.
No one makes movies like Malick. Though not his best, To the Wonder is probably his most personal, spiritual, abstract, impressionistic, insistent work. Conventional narrative structures need not apply, and yet the story is clear, even with the non-character characters. The film is an exploration of the nature of inner spaces, of absence and the desire for belonging. The visual poetry of yearning may have never been better filmed. Challenging but rewarding.