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Subject: "To the Wonder (Malick, 2013)" Previous topic | Next topic
ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
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Wed Dec-19-12 10:40 AM

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"To the Wonder (Malick, 2013)"


  

          

Uh oh, here comes the hate

http://youtu.be/csstykAOQKI

___________________________________________________________________________
Bitch, don't kill my vibe.

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Let me get my hate out of the way: TERRIBLE title, lol.
Dec 19th 2012
1
Many have tried, few have conquered...n/m
Dec 19th 2012
4
Huh?
Dec 19th 2012
5
      You're right. Read quick & missed your point.
Dec 19th 2012
8
      lmao we became the watched
Dec 21st 2012
11
I agree with all of this
Dec 19th 2012
9
Can't wait for this, but the mixed reviews have me apprehensive...
Dec 19th 2012
2
favorite working director
Dec 19th 2012
3
+1
Dec 20th 2012
10
Jount look like the Final Fantasy 8 intro CGI cutscene.
Dec 19th 2012
6
I don't know if I can see this...
Dec 19th 2012
7
give his cinematographer an award right now..lol
Dec 21st 2012
12
Lucky enough to catch an advance screening of this..
Mar 31st 2013
13
It was alright
Apr 01st 2013
14
For anyone interested, this hits OnDemand and iTunes today...
Apr 12th 2013
15
gotta say, as much as I love seeing flicks in theaters I might try this
Apr 12th 2013
16
I'll be trying that out this weekend
Apr 13th 2013
17
Olga Kurylenko
Apr 13th 2013
18
Seriously
Apr 13th 2013
19
Pro: Emmanuel Lubetzki. Con: everything else.
Apr 14th 2013
20
is this another lyrical film poem?
Apr 14th 2013
21
      Yeah.
Apr 14th 2013
22
      In theory, this film is about love, yes.
Apr 14th 2013
23
           Perception is a funny thing...
Apr 15th 2013
24
                The first twenty minutes or so were the best part.
Apr 15th 2013
25
Malick's most obtusely poetic movie yet.
Apr 30th 2013
26
Yep. All of this.
Apr 30th 2013
27
      He didn't say he almost walked out the theater though...
May 01st 2013
28
           Yeah, I read Ebiri fairly regularly...
May 01st 2013
29
           in that case, Bardem's self-evangelism seems even more shoehorned in
May 01st 2013
30
the theology behind To the Wonder:
Aug 07th 2013
31
Thanks for posting that. Interesting take.
Aug 07th 2013
32
      People just love to hate on Malick
Aug 07th 2013
33

Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82784 posts
Wed Dec-19-12 10:49 AM

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1. "Let me get my hate out of the way: TERRIBLE title, lol."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

That's pretty much the extent of my hate, since I thought The Tree of Life was about 5/6ths of a brilliant film.

Malick's style is intriguing to me, albeit admittedly easily parodied (shoot a pretty image here, whispered voiceover of trite cliches there, boom= Malick film!). It tends to hit me where I live, but I do wonder whether this same Tree of Life format, which all reports indicate it is, will work for something as intimate as love the same way that it worked for something as epic as Tree of Life. Will it work better or worse? Critics seem split. Brits seem to like it more than Americans.

I'll be there opening day regardless.

I do wanna shout out the Affleck joke-- forget where he told it, maybe at the THR Roundtable-- where he said he wasn't sure he had any lines anymore in this film, lol. Malick's style of shooting a ton and then cutting loads and loads of it out... again, intriguing to me.

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Dec-19-12 11:29 AM

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4. "Many have tried, few have conquered...n/m"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

>Malick's style is intriguing to me, albeit admittedly easily
>parodied (shoot a pretty image here, whispered voiceover of
>trite cliches there, boom= Malick film!).

----

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82784 posts
Wed Dec-19-12 11:42 AM

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5. "Huh?"
In response to Reply # 4
Wed Dec-19-12 11:42 AM by Frank Longo

  

          

I meant parodied, not duplicated. I could go out and make a short mocking Malick's style right now. It's so distinctive and earnest that any cynic could do it.

- shot of tree
- shot of foot
- shot of woman bathed lovingly in light
- whispered narration: "He is watching."
- shot of hand
- shot of grass
- shot of lens flare from sunlight
- whispered narration: "As he watches..."
- spinning shot around woman
- whispered narration: "... we become the watched."
- shot of tree

I like Malick a lot, but it is what it is. Distinctive styles are easy to parody, earnest ones even more so.

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Dec-19-12 01:52 PM

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8. "You're right. Read quick & missed your point."
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

Plus, I was just joking around....

----

  

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crow
Member since Feb 23rd 2005
4034 posts
Fri Dec-21-12 02:03 AM

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11. "lmao we became the watched"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

__________________________________

*Note to self: Add Sig*

  

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ZooTown74
Member since May 29th 2002
43582 posts
Wed Dec-19-12 03:47 PM

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9. "I agree with all of this"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

___________________________________________________________________________
Bitch, don't kill my vibe.

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Dec-19-12 11:07 AM

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2. "Can't wait for this, but the mixed reviews have me apprehensive..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

They seem to skew a lot more negative than most of the Tree of Life reviews...

Badlands is the only Malick film I haven't seen (but it's coming to Criterion blu-ray in March!) - but aside from that, I've been a fairly huge fan of everything he's done, so I'm looking forward to this regardless.

Obviously the cinematography is one of the most important elements of Malick's stuff, so I'm pretty thrilled that Emmanuel Lubezki shot this.

----

  

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will_5198
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Wed Dec-19-12 11:08 AM

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3. "favorite working director"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

--------

  

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forgivenphoenix
Member since Dec 08th 2007
2514 posts
Thu Dec-20-12 03:56 PM

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10. "+1"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

__________________________________________

http://www.twitter.com/chriscjamison/

People who don't take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.

Peter Drucker

  

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PlanetInfinite
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Wed Dec-19-12 11:48 AM

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6. "Jount look like the Final Fantasy 8 intro CGI cutscene."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


i'm out.
_____________________
"WHOLESALE REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS!!"
@etfp

  

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dgonsh
Member since Aug 14th 2002
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Wed Dec-19-12 12:45 PM

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7. "I don't know if I can see this..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

That trailer just reminded me of everything I disliked about Tree of Life.

I can't watch 2 hours of shots of leaves and frolicking.

********************************************************************




"I *always* quote myself. I'm the only reliable source on *most* subjects" - OKP's First Lady of Knowledge, Janey

  

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DJ007
Member since Apr 06th 2003
5447 posts
Fri Dec-21-12 05:52 AM

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12. "give his cinematographer an award right now..lol"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

beautiful looking picture

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Sun Mar-31-13 09:41 AM

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13. "Lucky enough to catch an advance screening of this.."
In response to Reply # 0
Sun Mar-31-13 09:44 AM by The Analyst

  

          

Look, I thought it was outstanding, but I'm a huge Malick admirer - I had Tree of Life as my top film of 2011 easily, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I do think, though, that many of the complaints people had about Tree of Life don't exist in this one. It's narrower in scope and as a result the narrative is a bit more focused. (For example, it doesn't go all the way back to the formation of the universe and it doesn't jump around throughout time.) It's also about a half an hour shorter.

It's obviously very similar aesthetically to his other movies in that it employs the same elliptical and abstract style. This one might even be slightly more abstract actually. There is very, very little meaningful dialogue (almost anything of consequence is said through voiceovers). Malick is really trying to push the limits of telling a story with as little dialogue as possible - he really wants to the images to tell the story.

The range of tones is also more narrow. Tree of Life pretty much touched on the whole spectrum - there were moments of rapture and moments of heartbreak, and everything in between. This is much more gloomy. It echoes some of the same broad themes, but overall this is more focused on disintegrating relationships - with lovers, with one's children, with god, with the natural world. There is a lot of symmetry and parallelism between different characters. It's deceptively layered. Again, it might feel a bit slight in comparison to its predecessor, but I don't it's any less the work of a master.

I'm looking forward to seeing this again. I continued thinking about it all day after I left the theater to the point where it was still my mind when I was trying to fall asleep last night. I'm getting closer and closer to agreeing with the opinion that Will voiced above, which is that this guy is the best American filmmaker currently at work...

----

  

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crow
Member since Feb 23rd 2005
4034 posts
Mon Apr-01-13 01:42 AM

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14. "It was alright"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I spent most if just jealous that Ben Affleck had these incredibly beautiful women in his life. I fell in love with Olga.

__________________________________

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Fri Apr-12-13 10:57 AM

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15. "For anyone interested, this hits OnDemand and iTunes today..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

It's rocking a lowly 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, but what the hell do they know anyway?

----

  

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benny
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Fri Apr-12-13 01:54 PM

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16. "gotta say, as much as I love seeing flicks in theaters I might try this"
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

UVerse has it for $8. On my home projection system this might be a more than acceptable alternative to my local art-house spot with its shitty seating

------------------------------
For the record, my teams:
MLB: Mets / Soccer: PSG
NCAA BB: Arizona / NCAA FB: Michigan
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===
"Si la meuf est bien physiquement, je ne refuserai pas grand chose"

  

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okaycomputer
Member since Dec 02nd 2002
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Sat Apr-13-13 01:42 AM

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17. "I'll be trying that out this weekend"
In response to Reply # 15


          

Just had a kid, not going to any theaters for a while. I can't tell you how happy I was to see this available on iTunes last night.

  

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Mgmt
Member since Feb 17th 2005
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Sat Apr-13-13 10:31 AM

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18. "Olga Kurylenko"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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crow
Member since Feb 23rd 2005
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Sat Apr-13-13 12:21 PM

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19. "Seriously"
In response to Reply # 18


  

          

__________________________________

*Note to self: Add Sig*

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Sun Apr-14-13 04:55 PM

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20. "Pro: Emmanuel Lubetzki. Con: everything else."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I'm not sure there will be a more disappointing film this year.

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astralblak
Member since Apr 05th 2007
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Sun Apr-14-13 08:48 PM

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21. "is this another lyrical film poem?"
In response to Reply # 20


  

          

except instead of origin of species the theme/topic is Love

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Sun Apr-14-13 09:25 PM

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22. "Yeah. "
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

Exactly.

----

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Sun Apr-14-13 10:12 PM

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23. "In theory, this film is about love, yes."
In response to Reply # 21
Sun Apr-14-13 10:12 PM by Frank Longo

  

          

The problem is the characters have zero dimension and the actors aren't given a chance to develop chemistry. So it's just people standing around, running, and staring into the middle distance. Love is only present because they keep saying love in the narration. We never see it.

All other Malick films are far superior in terms of character development. People compare this one to Tree of Life, but Pitt, Chastain, and most certainly the kids had interactions, emotional complexity, and a series of tangible life events we could root their growth and development in.

For me, To The Wonder has none of that. At all. I really wanted to be taken by it, as I've been very taken with every Malick I've ever seen.

This one, I nearly walked out.

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Mon Apr-15-13 09:34 AM

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24. "Perception is a funny thing..."
In response to Reply # 23
Mon Apr-15-13 09:36 AM by The Analyst

  

          

Because I know many people, myself included, who would disagree with this statement:

>Love is only present because they keep saying
>love in the narration. We never see it.

The love is palpable in the Paris scenes, and a friend of mine who saw this with me called first scenes in Texas when they're playing with the lampshades over their heads "domestic bliss personified."

After that, though (almost all of the movie) the love is absent, so of course you're not going to see much of it.

I personally think this can be disputed:

>All other Malick films are far superior in terms of character
>development.

>People compare this one to Tree of Life, but
>Pitt, Chastain, and most certainly the kids had interactions,
>emotional complexity, and a series of tangible life events we
>could root their growth and development in.

I think I'd argue that the "series of life events" in this movie is AT LEAST as tangible as those in Tree of Life. SPOILERS: They fall in love. They move to America. The relationship begins to fracture. The daughter moves back home. Olga travels to France and Ben has an brief affair with a former flame. Olga comes back and they get married. The relationship continues to decay, and they get divorced.

Stylistically it might be a little more abstract than TOL, but in terms of the actually stuff that happens, it's more "plot based" (or at least more linear) than TOL.

>This one, I nearly walked out.

I guess I'm just really surprised that you disliked this enough to nearly walk out, because that's a REALLY STRONG amount of dislike. Maybe I'll end up being the only defender of this in PTP, but I do know a few other people who really liked it in real life.

I definitely thought there was plenty you could take away from the movie if you wanted to. It probably feels rather small and maybe even slight in the shadow of Tree of Life, but that's fine with me.

----

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
82784 posts
Mon Apr-15-13 10:24 AM

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25. "The first twenty minutes or so were the best part."
In response to Reply # 24


  

          

>Because I know many people, myself included, who would
>disagree with this statement:
>
>>Love is only present because they keep saying
>>love in the narration. We never see it.
>
>The love is palpable in the Paris scenes, and a friend of mine
>who saw this with me called first scenes in Texas when they're
>playing with the lampshades over their heads "domestic bliss
>personified."
>
>After that, though (almost all of the movie) the love is
>absent, so of course you're not going to see much of it.

They struck a note at the beginning. She is full of strong emotion and childlike wonder. He isn't, he's just sort of quiet and observant, but I assumed he would show more as the film went.

And for me, he didn't. Affleck is the least ideal Malick protag I've ever seen, because he doesn't come across as pensive at all-- he's just kind of a lunk. I felt absolutely nothing coming from him the entire film. Which in a film about relationships... is a problem.


>I personally think this can be disputed:
>
>>All other Malick films are far superior in terms of
>character
>>development.
>
>>People compare this one to Tree of Life, but
>>Pitt, Chastain, and most certainly the kids had
>interactions,
>>emotional complexity, and a series of tangible life events
>we
>>could root their growth and development in.
>
>I think I'd argue that the "series of life events" in this
>movie is AT LEAST as tangible as those in Tree of Life.
>SPOILERS: They fall in love. They move to America. The
>relationship begins to fracture. The daughter moves back
>home. Olga travels to France and Ben has an brief affair with
>a former flame. Olga comes back and they get married. The
>relationship continues to decay, and they get divorced.
>
>Stylistically it might be a little more abstract than TOL, but
>in terms of the actually stuff that happens, it's more "plot
>based" (or at least more linear) than TOL.

I put the word tangible in there very intentionally. I agree that events do take place here. We get the who and the what. But we rarely get the why and the how. When we do, it's simplistic to the point of monotony. He struggles with expressing emotion, she overflows with it. I don't doubt that the Malick style could work in building a seemingly idyllic relationship before breaking it down, but their interaction is virtually non-existent. There are countless moments of running away from people,staring away at people, or existing in the same vicinity as people posed as to state away from them to make a pretty picture. If the characters don't shine, then Malick's style which I normally love begins to feel obnoxiously false.

The depiction of women, for example. A one-note flitty pixie dream girl who leaves her daughter overseas to be with the man who rarely expresses emotion on screen. Why? I realize sometimes in life one doesn't know why one falls for another, but in a movie, you kind of need the why, especially when such melodramatic heights are reached.

Then we have the independent working woman, working hard on the ranch, as a refreshing counter-point to the woman who spins and flits incessantly... but she too suddenly expresses wanting to be his wife. Why? All we've seen is them bang once or twice and her watch him do his oil work a couple of times. We hear him say he knew her from back in the day, and she's a strong working woman, so we understand his attraction to her. Why no vice versa? Why are we to just assume Silent Affleck is a partner worthy of two women bending their lives backwards to be with?

Finally, after we got the scene of Olga running outside hysterical screaming "HE'S KILLING ME" followed by the slut-shaming sequence, it just started to feel like Malick telling a personal story in which Affleck as the Malick figure is the presumed person of interest because why not? He's a pensive handsome man, and while he's super emotionally constipated, at least he didn't fuck a carpenter once.

Am I reading too far into the depiction of women and why Malick chose to depict them as such? Possibly. But when the male protagonist contributes basically nothing and the women are so one-note, I struggled to find other more complex reads.


>>This one, I nearly walked out.
>
>I guess I'm just really surprised that you disliked this
>enough to nearly walk out, because that's a REALLY STRONG
>amount of dislike. Maybe I'll end up being the only defender
>of this in PTP, but I do know a few other people who really
>liked it in real life.
>
>I definitely thought there was plenty you could take away from
>the movie if you wanted to. It probably feels rather small
>and maybe even slight in the shadow of Tree of Life, but
>that's fine with me.

I wanted to desperately, as I've loved every other Malick. No reason for me to not like it in advance-- I assumed it'd be great. It's unquestionably slight compared to Tree of Life, but most films are compared to a film that shows the creation of the universe, lol. My problem wasn't scale... In fact, my problem might be it's not as intimate as Tree of Life. Tree of Life had family relationships that were complex, that were troubled, yet were unquestionably rooted in deep love. The lampshade scene is domestic bliss... if you feel the relationship feels real. Otherwise, it's simplistic to the point of obnoxiousness. (Perhaps my least favorite "aren't they cute?" shot is Olga touching the dirt on the ground and putting it to her face. Simplistic depiction of pixie charm to the point of cartoonish.)

Maybe the casting needs to be blamed, especially Affleck. Maybe the editing needs to be blamed. Maybe Malick's style of shooting was destined to one day result in a film that was nothing more than pretty, because you can't strike gold every time with that improvisational fix-it-together-in-editing-room technique. I don't know.

All I know is me no likey. And outside of appreciating the cinematography, I doubt it's a grower for me.

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will_5198
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Tue Apr-30-13 10:13 AM

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26. "Malick's most obtusely poetic movie yet."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

actions are shown, but not causes. Affleck is a symbol instead of a character. Bardem's story is a tenuous parallel and often jarring. dialogue is at its functional minimum, supported by the least amount of voice-over Malick has ever used.

even with all of that, I was ready to follow -- Kurylenko is often shown from a POV perspective, beckoning to chase her in whatever fleeting moment she's in -- but there is not enough here to keep in pursuit.

Malick *needs* his voice-overs. McAdams' and Kurylenko's spoken thoughts are about the only instances of emotion in the movie, and too rare. Bardem's journey was disparate and clunky, with a conclusion that hardly seems earned. it's not a movie that fully meditates on the impulses of love. nor does it make a coherent relation to the search for God. and the tying links between both attempts are thin -- as is the water theme that recurs without impact.

like the empty house Affleck and Kuryklenko never seemed to settle into, this is the first Malick film I couldn't connect with.

--------

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Tue Apr-30-13 01:48 PM

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27. "Yep. All of this."
In response to Reply # 26


  

          

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For movie lovers: http://russellhainline.com

  

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed May-01-13 09:04 AM

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28. "He didn't say he almost walked out the theater though..."
In response to Reply # 27


  

          

Jokes, but in case you guys are interested, I came across this blog post that's been making its way around the web where the writer's basic argument is that the movie is, "for all intents and purposes, a ballet." At the very least I thought it was a pretty interesting take.

http://ebiri.blogspot.com/2013/01/to-wonder-i-write-on-water-things-i.html

----

  

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Frank Longo
Member since Nov 18th 2003
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Wed May-01-13 10:57 AM

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29. "Yeah, I read Ebiri fairly regularly..."
In response to Reply # 28


  

          

... and while he may not be wrong about the intention, he's wrong in saying Malick nailed this in the execution. Ballets are all about the bodies and all about emotional connection--- their stories are meticulously structured and executed via the movement. Malick's film lacks the scene-to-scene structure of a ballet (and since many actors cut out of it have said he more or less shot this film on a whim daily, that's not terribly surprising).

Plus, maybe if he'd had ZERO dialogue, it would have forced him to tell the story more clearly through the visuals. Instead, he used as little dialogue as possible and continued to weave in plot lines and let them fade away with no resolution or purpose. It's the cinematic equivalent of "ooh, shiny!" Which is strange, since normally Malick's work despite his filming methods still feels meticulously structured scene-to-scene (Tree of Life is a perfect example of this).

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will_5198
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Wed May-01-13 12:21 PM

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30. "in that case, Bardem's self-evangelism seems even more shoehorned in"
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I couldn't get interested in what Malick was going for there. and it made the movie feel much longer.

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will_5198
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Wed Aug-07-13 11:40 AM

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31. "the theology behind To the Wonder:"
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http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/terrence-malick-theologian-the-intimidating-exhilarating-religiosity-of-the-tree-of-life-and-to-the-wonder

"...This is due, in large part, to Malick's apparent biblical model this time out. For The Tree of Life, it's the Book of Job, a big, bold, dramatic text. To the Wonder, by contrast, seems to take its inspiration from the Song of Songs, a leaner and more lyrical text.

The mood of the film shifts mercurially as presence shifts to absence: "In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not," laments the woman in the Song of Songs, "I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not" (3:1-2).

The desperate repetition of the refrain is echoed not only in the melancholic behavior of Olga Kurylenko as she misses Ben Affleck during their times of separation, but also in the mournful acknowledgment by Javier Bardem that his faith in God's love has been weakened, if not lost.

Malick is actively reflecting on the theological meaning of one of the Old Testament's strangest, most elusive—if brief and pleasurable—books. He is asking no smaller or less significant a question here than, what is the nature of love—what is the substance of it? Is the love that animates the bodies of lovers, that provokes such inexplicable despair in the absence of the other's form, the same love that binds man to God and God to his creations?

One need not believe to find the negotiation of these ideas fascinating, even exhilarating, especially when guided by Malick's singular poetic precision and uncommon thoughtfulness."

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The Analyst
Member since Sep 22nd 2007
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Wed Aug-07-13 11:50 AM

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32. "Thanks for posting that. Interesting take."
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Though I'm probably the only person in PTP who actually liked this shit.

I could be wrong, but I think history will be a bit kinder to this than most of the contemporary reviews were, some of which went as far as to openly mock it...

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Errol Walton Barrow
Member since Jul 02nd 2002
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Wed Aug-07-13 01:41 PM

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33. "People just love to hate on Malick"
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and call him pretentious when I feel he's one of the least pretentious filmmakers around to me, he's very earnest. Maybe people feel like films should be actor-centric and get upset by the way he treats actors scenes the same way as he treats a shot of a sunset or that shot through a canopy of trees he likes so much.

"To the Wonder" is very good, even if I rank it on the bottom end of Malick films.

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http://adevotedappraisal.tumblr.com - Essays, reviews, short stories and free writes on music, film and life around us.

  

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