To The Wonder

“…TO THE WONDER is (MIFF Midlife Achievement Award Winner) Terrence Malick’s sixth film in a 40-year career that began with BADLANDS and reached an elysian peak of sorts in 2011 with THE TREE OF LIFE. Malick movies often stoke reactions of awe and “Huh?” His latest pushes cinematic experiment to a degree not previously attempted by this restless, mysterious auteur—or, really, by anyone else working in narrative film. As Ben Affleck, its putative star, reportedly said after seeing TO THE WONDER, it “makes THE TREE OF LIFE look like TRANSFORMERS.” The simple romantic triangle of a man (Affleck), his Ukrainian wife (Olga Kurylenko) and the American girl he left behind (Rachel McAdams) becomes the theme for a modernist symphonic variation of enigmatic figures and pristine nature… This could be the most formally radical post-narrative American film ever to be released. And Malick, the most famous recluse in movies, was not likely to be explaining his film…. Malick wants to transport you from a multiplex auditorium to a cathedral of nature; TO THE WONDER, like all his films but especially THE TREE OF LIFE, is a ramble through the ecstasies of the natural world as experienced or ignored by little people on a giant, gorgeous planet….Malick, the cinema’s great naturalist, nearly outdoes himself with magnificent images of sunsets in France and the American South, in a film whose true subject is visual splendor at the level of rapture…. For spectators dulled by the midget movies of an artistically timid era, the film may be a chore. For those on Malick’s rarified wavelength, it’s a wonder”—Richard Corliss, Time. R. 112 Min.

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