To the Wonder 2012

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(57) IMDb 6/10

After falling in love in Paris, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Their church's Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood.

Ben Affleck,Olga Kurylenko
1 hour, 52 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Terrence Malick
Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko
Supporting actors Javier Bardem
Studio Studiocanal
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 17 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD
This movie has come in for a bit of stick. Some say it’s little more than a series of beautiful perfume ad images strung together with a plaintive voiceover. For me, while it doesn’t rank with Terrence Malick’s best work, it’s hardly shallow. No film that seeks to explore the nature of love could be. But at the other end of the spectrum, there are the claims of “pretentiousness” – which usually means ambitious, moving, divisive, passionate, challenging... All the things love is.

Ben Affleck plays Neil, soulful and practically mute, who brings his wife, Marina (Olga Kurylenko), and her daughter, Tatiana (Tatiana Chiline) from France to live in the US. The adults enjoy playing in the Days of Heaven fields, but the kid hates it. So Marina and Tatiana return home. In Marina’s absence, Neil has a fling with Jane (Rachel McAdams). But then Marina wants back in. Romance blossoms again… and is destined to sour again. And so the cycle goes on. Meanwhile, local priest Father Quintana (Javier Bardem) is questioning his faith. While the lovers’ passion burns bright then dwindles, Quintana’s is already at its lowest ebb, and is gradually rekindled.

In The Tree of Life, Malick charted the lifeline of love, from the birth of empathy to the nuclear family. In To the Wonder, he’s looking at love in the modern context. Quintana finds his faith – the truth of love – in seeking to alleviate the suffering of others. Similarly, Neil and Marina seem forever to be repairing each other with their loving expressions. But what becomes of them when their suffering – their isolation – is fully alleviated? Malick seems to imply that in order for romantic love to be valid, it must paradoxically justify itself by being destructive; hence the ambivalence of the lovers, and their perennial push-and-pull.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hadders on 23 April 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
'To the Wonder'? More like 'To the *Wander*'.

There is little more than a diluted thimble-full of plot to sustain this film, which is chiefly made up of shots of Ben Affleck ceaselessly wandering hither and thither with a troubled, moody expression. The same may be said for other members of the cast, only they say a little more.

Let's be clear - one can present a purposeful plot with impressionistic values - Malick did so with 'The Tree of Life'. It is telling that in 'To the Wonder's credits, the film acknowledges the use of footage from 'The Tree of Life'. In some way, I found this summed up one of 'To the Wonder's flaws: it *feels* like left-over, under-developed ideas, rather than 'The Tree of Life's visionary, operatic scope.

Javier Bardem's Father Quintana is perhaps the most sympathetic character; his inner-conflict underscores the film's principal themes of human bondage and forms of fidelity. But whilst his character is thematically central, he is under-used or otherwise obscured by the less than sympathetic emotional and domestic trials faced by Affleck and Olga Kurylenko.

Unquestionably there is something vital about the film's meditations; it features beautiful photography and expresses moments of real power, but it trades in its convictions concerning these matters for a form of audience participation, wherein the latter are obliged not to do the thinking, but to trek across chasm like gaps in plot with occasional directorial nudges.

Anyone who follows Malick's films will perhaps see visual and thematic links with his earlier 'Days of Heaven', but unfortunately it does not compare. Watch 'To the Wonder' to complete your viewing of Malick's other superior films, but prepare to be let down. A film of occasional magnificence and overwhelming disappointment.
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38 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. R. Birkhead on 26 Feb. 2013
Format: DVD
Terrence Malick's To the Wonder is less a film and more a homage to the autuer. This is a film which expounds the director's acute sense of ambivalence towards the world. One topic it is not confused about is love: the story is a testament to the chambers of the human heart. And it seems like Malick is wearing his on his sleeve for this one! The general tone of the work is a subtle, sweeping sun set that seeks to capture and focus on, distill, the rawness of the beauty of the world. Meditative moods and images pregnate the film almost to the point of turgidity. As if Malick were putting his compositional house in order; or more precisely his sense of aesthetic bliss, which permeates his entire oeuvre, this chapter in his career sums up what is beautiful, and indeed bitter about the world. The way the world works. The way love works. Malick is saying yes life and love are tough but we are strong enough to seek the Truth, and with the truth, God. He says 'show us how to seek you'. This is Malick the Christian, the preacher, turned to film to purchase his message to the world. By seeing this film, Malick hopes that we too will seek to find that elusive measure of the good, the beautiful and the sublime in our most mundane moment. In fact, he apparently abandons all sorts of formal narratives and structures as well as recognisible characters in order to paint the world with his twilit nuance - of ambivalence, of hope, despair and of course god. In end the film is an ocean of sorts. There is no narrative as such but a tide of happenings, a plethora of images which relate to an inner something, to which the viewer may or may not attach some particular import or reason. This film is a cinematic equivalent of an opening mind. Not a film as such but a revelation of the process of becoming one.Read more ›
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