ionu7’s review published on Letterboxd:
The first movie I felt compelled to review. I sat in awe throughout many moments of the film just feeling. I think the ultimate goal of Mallick's movie is to make you feel, through breathtaking images, music and sounds. People might think it falls short by being shallow and having a pretentious plot or by having minimal character growth. But that's why I like it so much, you get to know very little about a person's character, but you get to feel what he's feeling, I think it's an empathic experience. Subjective empathy which will make you feel or not what he's experiencing. What's happening.
Love, sadness, anger, beauty, frustration, fun, happiness. Even though the troubled character feels everything he experiences, he's still a pilgrim wandering through the surface of the earth, trying to find the pearl that will make him feel, well, I don't even know if he knows what he wants to feel or be. But a certain thought is that he doesn't have it at the moment and he's looking. Desperate, at moments, blinded by it's own perception of the world he became a part of, he goes through mainly romantic experiences, looking for some sort of an answer. Underlying motives reveal themselves at times, important but not satisfactory for the situation and we're always left thinking, scratching, searching, wondering what went wrong or why didn't something go right.
I don't have the wealth, family situation or other circumstances in common with Rick, I'm not even driven by an unknown shallow force to experience everything it might be good for me, but an unmistakably powerful force to find a meaning drives me daily as well. That's why it probably hit me so hard. It made me sit and think it might be an epiphany of some sort by the end of the film, it made me think I could emulate the emotional intake and find a solution for myself, through his experience. It didn't, but that doesn't mean it didn't. A definitive final was what I expected, but it was pretty obvious that's not gonna happen. It can't happen. And although it wasn't definitive, it certainly was cathartic.