This film got a VOD release same day as its theatrical release which I really appreciate. I paid 8 dollars to watch it on demand and I would have paid the same or a bit more to see it in theaters with noisy people. It's not just the convenience its just I do not want to be interrupted while watching a Malick film and people's theater manners are horrible in Texas where I live I mean there's no sense. So I don't want to deal with laughter from people laughing at un-funny moments or things like that. I will pay to go see this in the theater next week I am sure as I want to <more>
experience the big screen version of it, but the first time I watch something I know has the potential to be great I really need to focus in on it.I waited a few weeks to see the Tree of Life because I wanted to go when it wasn't crowded, because of Tree of Life I decided to watch this the same day it was released. I have always known of Malick more or less, or at least since I became aware of cinema and his first four movies I appreciated and respected but I didn't necessarily enjoy them. These last two I mean he has really hit his stride and I look forward to all of his upcoming stuff.I read a fair amount of reviews before seeing this film and each one was all over the place, some praising this film others saying it failed so I went in with a pretty level head knowing this could potentially disappoint somewhat but still be beautiful to look at. I suppose the fact that I watched the trailers for this film at least 50 times should have indicated to me I would be into this style. What you need to understand is dialogue is not very important in this film but I actually found it more accessible than the Tree of Life. I really enjoyed the Tree of Life but it was pretty heavy, there wasn't too much lightness to it, which isn't to say To The Wonder is all care free and light hearted but its a little easier to swallow than Tree of Life.The plot isn't that important, the images are whats important here, and the voice over which is all over the place. I didn't think this would be better than The Tree of Life, I mean it's no small thing to top that film but I am proud to say I think this is Malick's best it's just really very beautiful and subtle. A lot of people will go to see this and just be confused and angry at the flow of things, how the camera and scenes drift but I enjoy it.
'Life's a dream. In dream you can't make mistakes. In dream you can be whatever you want.' (by gradyharp)
Visiting the world of Terrence Malick in many ways must be differentiated from 'watching a movie' and that is likely one of the reasons there are so many honest people who love movies who find IN THE WONDER a major disappointment, 'a mess', 'not a movie' and other responses. That Terrence Malick has a gift of blending film and thought and philosophy and music and silence into a meditation on his views of life, of love, of the human condition is a given. The 'story' is nonlinear, given in bits an pieces like the momentary light fireflies offer in Oklahoma nights <more>
or the strains of themes from the classical music with which he bathes his quiet moments, themes that begin, echo, go nowhere, and is about those very personal responses to life as it happens to us or as we perceive it has a meaning, a direction, a connection to God.In view of that it seems a bit odd that Magnolia pictures offers a synopsis of the 'plot' and that should be shared here: 'Neil Ben Affleck is an American traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with Marina Olga Kurylenko , an Ukrainian divorcée who is raising her 10- year-old daughter Tatiana Tatiana Chiine in Paris. The lovers travel to Mont St. Michel, the island abbey off the coast of Normandy, basking in the wonder of their newfound romance. Neil makes a commitment to Marina, inviting her to relocate to his native Oklahoma with Tatiana. He takes a job as an environmental inspector and Marina settles into her new life in America with passion and vigor. After a holding pattern, their relationship cools. Marina finds solace in the company of another exile, the Catholic priest Father Quintana Javier Bardem , who is undergoing a crisis of faith. Work pressures and increasing doubt pull Neil further apart from Marina, who returns to France with Tatiana when her visa expires. Neil reconnects with Jane Rachel McAdams , an old flame. They fall in love until Neil learns that Marina has fallen on hard times.'It is possible to give each of these basically silent voice over characters an interpretation but instead it feels as though Malick is simply watching four people respond to the world as it affects interpersonal relationships. Father Quintana, in his painful sadness at trying to find the light that God once provided him to nurture his fellow man, appears be whispering that the reason for our breakups, for our fragmented lives and relationships, is that we can no longer see God. If we could, we would be whole again. Yet even this concept seems less important than every person in the presence of this film finding his/her own meaning: Malick seems to be providing that privacy, that distancing from making his 'characters' fully credible that allows each of them to become part of our own longings and angst and faith that somewhere, sometime this will all make sense - if it is supposed to.The cinematography is provided by Emmanuel Lubezki and the musical score is attributed to Hanan Townsend: there should be mention of the use of themes from classical composers - Wagner's Parsifal themes and Henryk Górecki's symphonic music being the two most often used. But in the end this is a Terrence Malick meditation, and as such it is the way he combines the images, the light, the locations, the music and the actors to make us ponder. Grady Harp
Flashes of memory, before %@^* passes on.... (by prelude_e_n_i_g_m_a)
For fans of Malick and visual poetry only! One of my favorite things about to the wonder IS the fact that I cant connect or relate to the characters. I like how it feels like flashes of memory. I like that we never hear anyones name. I like how we float above the characters and swoop in when Malick wants us to. its just another way to tell a story. Malick and everyone else has done it the other way many times. I can imagine just fine what back story Malick would have given these characters... its no big deal... you don't need it every time. A lot of the people who loved the tree of life, <more>
which by the way is one of the best 5 movies ever, couldn't find anything to hold onto with this one. I guess we've found those peoples limits for this type of story telling. I guess people think if there's not more structure or character development that the movies too easy to make, or it can be faked or something. I guess I see this is just the next level of needing to be spoon fed something, just like how Hollywood films spoon feed you most of the time. We've found a cut off point within art house fans. TTOL to TTW for some is like Mulholland Dr. to INLAND EMPIRE for Lynch fans. Most just couldn't go further down the bunny hole because it looks like its mocking itself or is forced or something. Neither is true, all four of these movies are perfect. All Im saying is I want to see the boundaries of cinema get stretched and thats what this is. this is definitely something you experience on a different level than TTOL. Its more of a dreamy/memory type thing so you have to find the creativity and art in that world... almost like surrealism, but something different. Maybe more people just like the old Malick. Maybe the new Malick is better. Maybe this film is flashes of memory Malick has since this movies based on a time in his own life. I hope Malick stays on this path and goes further if he can somehow.
Explain nothing, show everything. A great ethereal love story. (by Balthazar-5)
Some people say that film is like a language, but that is not exactly right, it is like language itself, and just as there are different languages, there are different cinemas. It seems to me that, in his last two films, Terrence Malick has been creating a very special type of cinema, that had hitherto existed only in an embryonic form. While most films have maybe 50-100 scenes, replete with dialogue and action, Malick's new cinema MNC has over twice that number of scenes, but they are fragmentary and consist of only the essence of meaning that was in a scene that would normally have <more>
been much longer. This can be sometimes several minutes or only a couple of brief shots.Last evening I drove the 25 miles to see the early performance of 'To the Wonder'. I did that with the intention of returning to write this review while the film was still fresh in my mind. But after it I was so drained that I couldn't write a summary, let alone a review. At the current late stage in my life, what interests me most about the cinema is its limits. How far can the cinema go, and what exactly is a film?Given the above, Terrence Malick is evidently the man for me, and I am convinced that 'The Tree of Life' is among the five greatest works of this greatest of the arts. So, after a masterpiece 30 years in the gestation and three + in the creation, how would Malick fare with a film relatively thrown together in a year or so?On the face of it, this is a story of the relationship which starts in Paris between an American environmentalist? , Neil, and an otherworldly French woman Marina . When they return to mid-west America, Marina suffers from a sense of dislocation made greater when he daughter decides to go and live with her father in France.But Malick seems much less interested in the *events* which he depicts than in expressing the feelings of the characters. Just the same way that 'The Tree of Life' was an *impression* of childhood, rather than the story of a childhood, 'To the Wonder' is an impression of a love affair, rather than its story. This is cinema infused in every shot with Heidegger's *dasein*. The logic of Malick's cinema is to *perfectly* catch the moment, and in doing so extract the truth of the experience. Hence, for Malick, a film story, is simply an assembly of 'essences'. These essences stay in the mind to thrill and haunt us. There have been other examples of great filmmakers who have made films exploring the cinema's intimate connection with mental processes - Resnais and Bunuel come immediately to mind. But with Malick, it seems, the cinema's similarity to the mental processes of memory, dream and conjecture, have ignited a wildfire of creativity that has advanced the film art at a greater pace than has occurred since the sixties. Here I have to admit to being only at the beginning of being able to appreciate what seems to be dizzying complexities in the film. My French is not up to totally understanding much of Marina's dialogue which, as I am in France, was not translated in the subtitles, so I am sure I have missed an entire dimension of the film. But Olga Kurylenko's performance is so magnificent, that this 'comprehension gap' didn't seem a problem.Then there is the obvious question of the film's theme. Love, the very 'different' nature of women, dislocation in the physical, emotional and cultural senses - these are all up there writ large. But they are mixed with a nagging worry that, to return to my earlier concern, Malick has stretched the cinema to its limits, but sometimes, maybe beyond them. I do not think of myself as stupid, but I found great difficulty in grasping the relevance of certain shots or scenes. I rest convinced, however that this is another example of a film that it is necessary to watch dozens of times to find all of the poetic and meaningful connections.I have great sympathy with those who go to the cinema wanting to be told a great story in the clearest manner possible. That is honourable and reasonable, but it is not the only experience that the cinema, this great and wonderful art of the cinema, can give. And it is certainly NOT the case that films that don't take the more prosaic approach are pretentious, meaningless or boring. 'To the Wonder' is to popular cinema what lyric poetry is to airport novels. So, if that is all you are looking for, it is best to avoid Malick's film. But for those of us who know that beyond the sky is the limit for great cinema, Malick and MNC is the route to the stars, and 'To the Wonder' is a step, if a somewhat halting one, along that route.
...wrote french author Victor Hugo and Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" seems at times to agree and at times wanting disprove that quote. As ancient as the mistake of falling in love appears to be, as unavoidable and necessary it is. In his impressionistic style which will enrapture some and drive most insane, this latest piece of work by one of America's most unusual filmmakers continues his exploration of emotional truths, identity, intimacy and individual freedom which leads us into ever changing emotional states. Without a clear structure or narrative but accompanied by <more>
breathtaking images, a very expressive music and ambient soundtrack and extremely subtle performances, are we drawn into the lives of a business man Ben Affleck , a Russian expatriate Olga Kurylenko , the daughter of a farm owner Rache McAdams and the priest of a small town in Oklahoma Javier Bardem . Their thoughts and struggles on love, commitment, God and marriage along with their the fights and atonement are presented in fractured moments that reveal the various elements of human contradiction which constantly tear us in two directions at the same time. We want freedom and comfort, love and domesticity, desire and stability. The compromise lies in accepting which side of us is the one that defines us the most and if we can live, at least partly, with the lack of the other, in order to achieve as Bardem's Father Quintana puts it:"The love that never changes."Amidst this metaphysical and highly personal journey Malick gives us not only a sense of the "wonder of love" but also celebrates our sense of wonder in general. Our ability to be overwhelmed by our emotions for another person, nature or even God. "To the Wonder" is a film about faiths in many shapes and strives for that forgiveness that elates our disappointments and resentments in order to finally love in a state of personal liberty and acceptance.A movie for a few with a theme for everybody.
A Rhythmic Design of Life Around Sustaining Love and Faith (by buzzingmovie)
Terence Malick surprises everyone with a new release of romantic drama within two years from his previous film Tree of Life, an epitome of Malick's cosmic fixations, whereas this film can be called as a younger sibling to it. 'To the Wonder' is a courageous movie presenting beautiful images as Terence's film always does, with subject matter concerned with love and God and consequences of absence of either. Malick's visual majestic language involves the prudent style of whispered narrative, an overwhelming orchestral score and circling camera-work along with silent outdoor <more>
memory sequences across sunsets evoking the hidden emotions of the characters.We also see memories from two intense but ultimately inharmonious relationships which take the voice-over techniques, with some of the aspects of the story involving a foreign wife and an encounter with a previously known woman are said to be autobiographical for Malick. The majestic nature shots are signposts for his spiritual obsessions with most dramatic image of the movie captures Neil and his former girlfriend in the middle of a bright green field surrounded by buffalo, a prominent portrait of the American dream that cohesively connects to the context of the narrative.Olga Kurylenko portrays great skills in playing Marina, has a dominating presence with Ben Affleck and Rachael Mcadams giving a convincing performance.The movie is visually ravishing and there is a spellbinding quality to the cutting style, creating a unique ambiance to every frame. Marina's life is in a constant state of change but the film encompasses its holy beauty in the hidden rhythmic structure which resembles the ever-changing seasons, diverse emotions and conflict within relationships due to difficulty in sustaining love and faith.For complete review which may contain some spoilers no major plot details visit our website..!!
God blesses Terence and he returns the favour - The agonies of Love and Faith Malick Style! (by s_campanale)
During a working assignment in Shrewsbury we managed to catch this film in that town's beautiful Old Market arts centre situated inside the medieval customs house and law court building, a suitably unusual environment in which to experience such a distinct and left-field work.Malick has his own style and it has never really changed. His films try to convey their messages through visual and aural poetry, through fragments of lived experience and inner sensation rather than narrative, in a way largely alien to American film, though not to other cine- cultures, such as the Italian <more>
neo-realists, the French New Wave, the Scandinavian school, etc. However, because his films have always featured major stars, and ostensibly had a conventional story and narrative Criminals on the run, soldiers in war, Pocahontas and Smith, family crisis in 50s small town America many audiences have gone in expecting a regular drama only to find themselves in the middle of an abstract tone poem bereft of any recognisable element of the normal film going experience. "When is the story actually going to start?" they ask as they fidget through the umpteemph repeated whispered phrase and minute long close up of flowers in the wind, until by 30-40 minutes even they abandon all hope and seek better diversion in the nearest bar.Never has any director had as many walk outs as Malick!So if you do see this film, make sure you know what you are going to see! If you do, then what can you expect? "To the Wonder" is thematically very close to 2011s "Tree of Life", with a failing American love story being set into the wider universal context of God, creation, Faith and existence. Here an American scientist – Ben Affleck – falls in love with a Ganymede French based Ukrainian beauty played by Ganymede French based Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko who with this and "Oblivion" is trying to carve a new niche in high-brow pictures in Paris, and takes her and her 10 yr old daughter Tatiana to live with him in Oklahoma where the novelty soon wears off. He finds comfort in old flame cowgirl Rachael McAdams All American homely beauty contrasting against Kurylenkos exotic charms in a similar way to how Andrea Risborough's All-English homely beauty did in "Oblivion" but it doesn't last. Affleck and Kurylenko try to make a go of it, but Love seems to elude them, and even she strays. Enter Javier Bardem like Kurylenko another recent inductee into the 007 universe as a Hispanic priest plagued by doubts about his faith and the absence of God. The two are of course meant to be mirrored threads, and both eventually blossom in a magnificent concerto of spiritual wonder as Love and God one and the same here are revealed to be manifest and all-embracing.Of course none of that is conveyed in conventional terms. We see fragments of their lives, and the lives of those around them, as well as the greater universal. Everything is disjointed, even the time-line. Like "Tree of Life" we have the contrast between a free-spirit child of nature Kurylenko and the grounded all-American salary man Affleck . Like Jessica Chastain, Kurylenko spends most of the film dancing around in the sunlight and among nature, which can be irritating eventually. Affleck has virtually no lines at all, which makes this his best performance ever! Ha! Bardem gives a very restrained performance while McAdams shines her own inner spiritual beauty Affleck sees it in neither until the very end . Italian actress Romina Mondello turns up in Oklahoma as Kurylenko's friend she speaks to her in Italian and she replies in French while both speak to everyone else in English – really polyglot girls! who espouses a more radical take on spiritual liberty, being alive while everyone else is rendered dead to life by their conformism and materialism. And of course the other most important cast member, God!Though Malick's films have always been very spiritual in theme and message, this, even more so than "Tree of Life", espouses a very Christian viewpoint, especially at the conclusion, which becomes literally Evangelical. All the characters are Christians, and Bardem's lynch-pin is seeking the Christian God's presence, so this works in the narrative, but it risks alienating some audiences by taking too sectarian and prescriptive an approach to a message which should be Universal. That said, it is another worthy addition to the growing body of "New Spiritual Wave" films coming out recently.The musical score, culled from many composers and even from other films and the cinematography are both moving and beautiful, and the real keys to emotional power and connection here.The film is disconnected, frustrating, alienating, puzzling, but also moving and uplifting, boring and dull yet invigorating and engrossing, a truly unique experience, for better or worse.As the credits rolled almost half the audience had already left. I joked that a film exhorting universal divine love drives some people to homicidal rage, ready to burn the cinema down and lynch Terence Malick! We both laughed, and earned nasty looks from those who had remained, who perhaps mistook our levity for uncouth mockery of a sublime work we were too stupid to understand. Those who had already left meanwhile were laughing in nearby bars at how stupid the film was and how gullible those who loved it were for championing utter nonsense as some sort of incredible art.That's how Malick divides people!
It's completely style over substance but it's beautiful style over substance! (by Hellmant)
'TO THE WONDER': Four Stars Out of Five Acclaimed writer/director Terrence Malick's latest film is his most unconventional and abstract movie to date and it's also his poorest received by both fans and critics, although it is the last film Roger Ebert reviewed before he died and he gave it 3.5 stars out of 4 . Malick filmed the movie without a script, proper lighting or other normal cinematic tools. There's very little dialogue in the entire film and it's instead full of voiceovers that reveal very little about the plot or characters other than in philosophical and <more>
abstract ways . The film is more directionless than any of Malick's other movies and it's also his weakest work to date but it's still amazingly beautiful and breathtaking to watch!The movie stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. Performances by stars Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper and Michael Sheen were all cut from the movie due to it's extended length. Affleck plays Neil and Kurylenko plays Marina, a couple who met in Europe when Neil was visiting there. The two fall in love and Marina and her ten-year-old daughter Tatiana Tatiana Chiline move with Neil to Oklahoma where he's from . Their relationship falls apart as it grows on and Marina befriends a Catholic priest Bardem and moves back home to France while Neil falls back in love with an old girlfriend McAdams .I know most of the names and other synopsis details only after reading about the film online, most of it you can't pick up in the film at least not upon just one viewing . It's never clear exactly what's going on as the story is told mainly just through visuals much like a silent film . The music by Hanan Townshend, who also performed the music in Malick's much better 2011 film 'THE TREE OF LIFE' is very powerful and like I said the visuals are absolutely gorgeous. Like my friend said though Malick's movies are more of an experience than a film. They don't so much tell a story as they just present a beautiful form of art. The problem with Malick here is he like a lot of big filmmakers has gotten too full of himself and has way too much control of his movies. Film is a collaborative art form and when a director doesn't have to answer to anyone they will often become way too self indulgent in their work. And that's the best way to describe this film: self indulgent. Still it's extremely beautiful and a one of a kind experience to watch except it is very similar to all of Malick's other work . I like to think of Malcik as a more artistic Michael Bay; his films often don't make much sense or have any true story depth but they're extremely beautiful to watch like Bay, just in a different style and completely different genre . It's completely style over substance but it's beautiful style over substance!Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v SJM6S54llsE
In The New World, an indigenous American was transformed in what was considered civilized Western culture. The Tree of Life explored fate on an individual, human level by putting it into the perspective of the largest and smallest entities possible. In a way, To The Wonder is The New World upside down, meanwhile expanding on the philosophical and religious issues from The Tree of Life. So we have here an unhappy French woman immigrating to the US, seeking love, but also exploring her life and the subject of love in the context of religion. Many themes are worked upon: Nature vs. culture, <more>
romantic notions of love vs. biblical or nature's , liberty vs. bonding, egocentricity vs. care, rich vs. poor, technology vs. nature.Where most movies are annotated, simple storyboards, this is pure cinema. Almost every shot has a meaning, a context and flows from the notions the movie is exploring. See for example how the images interact with the themes: how horses, plains, sunlight, buildings, etc. are photographed. Most filmmakers don't even reach the stage of making interactions work, here there are too many too count: e.g. in the beginning the Paris images are cut very rapidly, hereby underscoring the fast, intuitive nature of the beginning of a romance which phase quickly fades , devoid of any obligations or care.What is new here is the wide-scale introduction of many hypothetic fantasy elements: the marriage, the child, which I noticed confused many viewers. The music is less bombastic and more subdued, and more modern classical music like Pärt is used. Is there criticism? Malick shoots a lot of material and like Kubrick and Kar-Wai edits it to perfection, but working with a group of five editors leads always to some loss of consistency. Like Tarkovsky, Malick's movies become increasingly religious at the end of their career. But, the holy grail of movies is transforming you in an almost religious experience, not introducing the church as such in the story. The religious points intersect in a strange way with the more philosophical issues: it is therefore probably deeply personal, but for the viewer almost unresolved.To fully understand this or other movies from Terrence Malick you cannot ignore his most influential inspiration Heidegger. Although a book could possibly be filled with further analysis, you can see some obvious parallels. Like Heidegger's work, Malick's visual language is very poetic to the point of being hypnotic. It also relates to his earlier work Being and Time and the concept of Dasein. Dasein refers to being thrown into but also assuming possibilities, taking care, being responsible for your choices, thereby escaping the temporality of calculation, also by being resolute. These same elements can all be encountered in this movie, just as the crucial elements of time and history related to the concept, and the question of being in general.