Terrence Malick is a controversial film maker. For every person who likes his films, there are probably ten who don’t. Or more. I don’t know. To the Wonder is the most recently released and by far most impressionistic (well, of what I’ve seen). Malick loves to show without telling. To suggest without confirming. To question without necessarily finding the answers. Which is problematic for a lot of people. People who like to be shown. Told. Given answers. But the truth is, there are probably no definite answers; and if there are, they can’t be served up on a platter but must be discovered for themselves.
Okay, so back to the film. Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko fall in and out of love. Rachel McAdams is there. Javier Bardem is a priest struggling to experience God in a kind of tangible way. It’s all voiceover, otherwise the dialogue is sparse. We see that they’re in love but we don’t know how they came to be there. We see them fight but mostly don’t know about what. And the truth is, I don’t think that people really know these things.
I’m going to say this straight up. I LOVED this film, but I don’t think you should watch it. Or if you do watch it, go in knowing what you’re going to get. Which is visual poetry. Without narrative, without context. This will not be easy. Most of the best films never are.