To the Wonder Movie Review
Terrence Malick is all Terrence Malick-y and stuff in To the Wonder, the acclaimed filmmaker's drama that will only appeal to people who understand this sentence. Starring Batman, a Bond girl, a Bond villain and a Mean Girl, To the Wonder is a dreamlike exploration of the rise and decline of a loving relationship, sort of like (500) Days of Summer only not at all similar.
Ben Affleck stars as a dude who wanders through grassy fields because his sexy girlfriend (Olga Kurylenko) likes to, which is great until her visa expires and she is forced to move away. He then falls for Rachel McAdams, because she's Rachel McAdams, but then he marries the other one, because she's Olga Kurylenko, and then other stuff sort of happens.
Oh, and Javier Bardem plays a priest who doesn't really play any part in the rest of the story.
To the Wonder is much more straightforward than Malick's previous effort, the fabulous The Tree of Life, but anyone expecting a straightforward drama should look elsewhere. The DVD literally asks you to turn up the volume to experience the majestic soundtrack, and most of the rest of the audio is delivered in the form of narration. I can only recall a few brief scenes where the actors actually speak on screen. I can recall several scenes where they walk silently through grassy fields.
Apparently there is footage of Ben Affleck practicing his gravely Batman voice that was cut for unknown reasons, but at least he made the film; in true Terrence Malick fashion, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet, Barry Pepper and Michael Shannon never made it out of the cutting room.
To the Wonder isn't as powerful as The Tree of Life, and the final act isn't nearly as strong as the first two thirds of the movie, but it is still a well made, beautiful and intoxicating film. People who don't know who Terrence Malick is will likely disagree.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.