Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: To The Wonder (Terrence Malick, 2013)

To The Wonder, the latest cinematic endeavour from the great Terrence Malick (writer/director of Badlands, The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life), is a serene and poetic romantic drama, entwined with stories of the deconstruction and repair of faith. It is a carefully considered and beautifully photographed film that displays all of Malick’s gifts as a visual storyteller. He focuses directly on the search for unique spiritual contentment and the emotional aspects of both falling in love and experiencing the diminishment of that splendour.

Malick’s style is a difficult one to absorb and embrace, and in no way is this film going to please everyone, particularly viewers starting out with To The Wonder. Some will be running for the exit within minutes while others will be captivated by the graceful flow of striking visuals, the natural screen existence of the actors portraying these characters and the moments of immense beauty that accompany the provocative emotional developments. A shorter, more linear, and less ambitious work than The Tree of Life, this closer focus in some ways makes this film more accessible, but as the scope is reduced, ultimately offers a little less for the audience to connect with.

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