To The Wonder - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

To The Wonder Reviews

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½ November 6, 2016
It looks stunning - as all Malick films do - however, it just seems like nearly 2 hours of Ben Affleck frolicking, all lovey-dovey, with women in slow motion. There's obviously more to it than that, but that's mostly the impression it made on me. Still worth seeing though.
½ September 14, 2016
i know this is one of the few movies director terence malick (thin red line) but I'm not crazy about the style he hraceas come 2 embrace i call it 'stream of consciencious' film making.
½ August 28, 2016
No plot, no dialogue, incomprehensible, extremely dull, so beautiful camera work and score doesn't save it
August 27, 2016
Much like all the rest of Terrence Malick's work, you can't slap it with labels like 'good' or 'bad'. It simply exists for whatever purpose find in it. It's a movie about love, and the difference the vice of lust and the joy of love. No, there's no narrative strength, but Malick is a non-narrative filmmaker. He doesn't tell stories, he writes poetry, and the only way he knows to do it is with images.

The casual movie viewer isn't any less intelligent or perceptive for not enjoying this movie. I know plenty of fellow filmmakers that don't care for Terrence Malick's work, but, if you have the time, and you're willing to pick things apart, than you'll, at the very least, be compelled by TO THE WONDER.
½ August 15, 2016
I was first introduced to the work of Terrence Malick when I was in university. The film was his second feature sitting in the director's chair - DAYS OF HEAVEN. It starred the then relatively unknown Richard Gere but I went to see it because it also starred Sam Shepard, whose talent as both a playwright and an actor I greatly admire. An hour and a half later, I was a Terrence Malick fan. He not only tells a story with incredible poetry, he also knows how to get his actors to convey a world of emotions with just a simple glance. And he knows how to pick his cinematographers. Nestor Almendros went on to win an Oscar (R) for his work filming the beauty and wonder of Alberta, Canada (standing in for the Texas panhandle). The film remains one of my all-time favourites.

Over the next 34 years, Malick directed just four films, the most recent being TO THE WONDER, starring Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko and Javier Bardem. Like Malick's other films, this one is light on talk and heavy on visuals.

An American environmentalist (maybe, we're not sure) meets a Frenchwoman in Paris and they fall in love. He asks her and her daughter to return with him to Oklahoma but, while life in their new home starts out well, problems ultimately arise and the women return to France. Meanwhile, a Spanish priest in the same Oklahoma town has a crisis of faith. The American man renews a relationship with his childhood sweetheart who is recently divorced but that ends abruptly when the Frenchwoman returns.

Although I want to remain a Terrence Malick fan, the director makes it very difficult with this piece of tediously ethereal garbage. If spending 112 minutes watching the back of Ben Affleck's head is your idea of a good time, then this film is for you. You can count in the single digits how many seconds his face is seen full on during the film. Olga, for her part, does a great job twirling and prancing around - in their backyard, at the supermarket, on the beach at Mont Saint-Michel (which was once known in France as the Wonder) - but, really, her character whose name we only know from the end credits is in serious need of a dose of Focusyn. She did give up custody of her daughter to her husband (or ex-husband, maybe, we're not sure) so perhaps there were some psychological issues that were never explored. That's the thing with Malick's films. So much is never explored. Everything is in the moment.

The dialogue, which is really just a series of monologues or shared thoughts, wafts in the air for a brief moment before dissipating. Half the time you can barely hear what anyone is saying. Between the combination of Olga speaking in French and the film's spacious shots of Paris, Normandy, and later, Oklahoma, you could be excused for thinking you're watching one very long, boring TV commercial for something like Chanel No. 5. In fact, if think of that awful spot Brad Pitt did last year for the product and extend it to almost two hours, you have this film.

It has been suggested that TO THE WONDER is autobiographical. Malick apparently had a romance with Michele Morette in France in the 1980s. They married in 1985 and they moved to Texas together. After their marriage ended just three years later, he reconnected with and married Alexandra Wallace, whom he dated when they were both students in Texas. Is this movie about the loss of love and faith then? If Malick sees himself as Ben's character (whose name, Neil, we also only find out from the end credits), then he's quite the brooder.

As with most of Malick's films, there was no formal script. Malick would describe the characters and the actors would improvise. That much is quite evident. At least a half a dozen actors, including Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper and Michael Shannon had scenes in the film which ended up on the cutting room floor. They are the lucky ones.

Unless you're a masochist, give this film a huge miss. It's deadly boring. Better yet, get a copy of DAYS OF HEAVEN and watch that.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2016
Love according to Malick, and not really a character study but in fact a "director study" that feels like a direct follow-up to The Tree of Life, or a lyrical and extremely revealing self-portrait of a deeply sensitive man who is able to dive into sheer beauty but never into real passion.
½ July 18, 2016
Película dura, poco sentimental, pero acertado en cuanto al amor. ¿Quién dijo que el amor es sólo rosas? ¿Qué estás dispuesto a hacer por ello, a perdonar? La narración otra vez es plenamente malickiana, los actores principales son la fotografía y la música, los secundarios son los personajes que actúan lo más intuitivamente posible (no tienen guión).
Kurylenko espectacular, se carga la película al hombro. Otro aplauso también para Bardem en su papel de sacerdote y al mostrar sus preocupaciones interiores. Historia paralela, mismo desemboque, para contar la transformación de la idea de amor.
Otro rasgo destacado es el hecho de los lenguajes que se utilizan: francés, italiano y español. Le da mayor realidad y universalidad al mensaje.
July 12, 2016
Terrence Malick's follow up to his masterpiece "The Tree of Life" is not the massive statement that that film was, but it is still a fine film that is a more mature and insightful work on human relationships and how they relate to the divine than most any romance film dares to touch. Malick could have done a lot better in creating a story that the audience is more engaged in (as he so brilliantly did in The Tree of Life), but even on his most half-baked day Malick is still head and shoulders above any other American director working right now.
July 10, 2016
This one is not gonna be for everyone. If you've never seen a Terrence Malick film then this one might be a bit too much for you. There's beautifully shot scenes like literally some of the best cinematography I've ever seen, but man is there little to no plot that is easily presented. Malick likes to leave a movie bare to show you what it's about. it's up to the viewer to figure it all out. Very art house like. The movie is about Neil (Ben Affleck) and Marina (Olga Kurylenko). Marina is a Ukrainian woman living with her ten year old daughter in France. She meets Neil and they fall madly in love. Neil takes them back to the states to live with him in Oklahoma. Soon enough things start going bad and Marina leaves the country. Neil then meets up with an old friend Jane (Rachel McAdams) who has her own ranch. Neil starts a romance with her, but things don't work out. He goes back to France and brings Marina back and finally marries her. Although, they are together Marina feels isolated and lonely in Oklahoma and just never feels like she fits in. There's also a priest in the film named Father Quintana (Javier Bardem) who is questioning his faith and interacts with Neil and Marina sparingly. Overall, I enjoyed aspects of the film (mostly cinematography), but man I wished this was more structured. I know what I was getting myself into with the director, but I never connected with any character and just really didn't care what happened by the end. Overall, only film buffs will want to give this one a look. Everyone else should probably stay away.
½ June 30, 2016
Malick's cinematic poem on marriage, family, man and wife is challenging even on the Malick scale, but it pays dividends with its enchanting portrait of the divine bauty and frailty of life.
½ May 29, 2016
This could possibly be the worst movie I have ever seen. It reminds me of the kind of video masturbation a first year film student might "produce". Ben Affleck must have rushed to the bank to deposit his check knowing what a stinker he was involved in. It is almost as if the script was lost on the first day of shooting and they decided to go ahead and make a movie anyway. For the first time in my life I actually think I am owed a refund for wasting my time on this abomination. Don't waste your time or money.
½ May 21, 2016
Malick doing what Malick does. He's been doing it more frequently recently and I think that some of the mystique is wearing thin. However this film is unbeatable for weird, and wonderful, camera angles, atmospheric Hopper-esque landscape shots, tremendous musical score. The plot is hard to follow and full of nonsequiturs, and there's hardly any verbal dialogue. It isn't uplifting: the message seems to me to be that love fails and humans don't quite connect at the deepest level. Still, it's absorbing, and well-made, and unique.
½ May 14, 2016
With no shred of doubt the most flattering part of To The Wonder is the impeccable cinematography by none other than the master Chivo, talk about a delight of imagery and magic that can only be found in his work, truly incredible, the story is a rare combination of LOVE & Depression & PAIN and fear and courage and a lot of unexplained emotions that can only be felt through the amazing acting of a wonderful cast, simply it was what movies do which is movie something deep inside you and it did that wonderfully
½ March 14, 2016
The cinematography is masterful, but it can't make up for the beyond pretentious voice overs and nonsense narrative delivery. A major disappointment from an excellent director.
March 8, 2016
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This movie should be called "shitty white people in shitty relationships, also whinging about god". Just unbearable, actively regret watching it.

This is astounding to me, because I consider all the rest of his filmography good, and most of it astoundingly good. I'm not sure I enjoyed more than 10min of this movie. Some of the shots were nice. Especially the shots with the bison. Those were nice. Can I have this movie with all of the human characters removed next time?
½ March 4, 2016
No plot, no story, just an impressionistic film that vaguely follows Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko through pretentious moments in Paris, Mont Saint Michel, and Bartlesville, OK. They fall in and out of love, and a couple other people show up to complicate matters, like Rachel McAdams. Javier Bardem makes a convincing lost priest who yearns to be filled with Christ's presence. Almost the only words spoken are insipid narrations. Why bother? Because Emmanuel Lubezki (3 Oscars in 3 years) was the D.P., and Terrence Malick's never-still camera makes everything beautiful, as always. I no longer expect his movies to mean anything, I just watch them and relax.
½ March 4, 2016
Beautiful cinematography aside, there's hardly anything to see in this dull drama.
February 24, 2016
Weird Little Love Story....
½ January 18, 2016
Terrence Malick crashes and burns. To the Wonder is an attempt at making a meditative film on romance, but it comes off more as hokey with its tedious "love" scenes, laughable dialogue, broken narrative, and heavy-handed symbolism. While at times it can be beautiful, the cinematography doesn't even match what he did in Tree of Life, as it comes off as predictable and tame this time around, nor does this film possess the rich thematic material of Malick's previous work. Honestly, there's no point in me even bringing up the performances. A sexless and meaningless would-be art film, that doesn't exactly raise my hopes for Malick's future projects.
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