To the Wonder
Terrence Malick has a great reputation as a voyager who travels far to explore the human soul. His films also need to be experienced rather than watched. That is quite enough to put people off, and even his magnificent The Tree of Life is very much an acquired taste. If at all possible, To the Wonder is even more elusive and effervescent. At times it seems to want to be about everything; at others it seems to violate all the basic rules that make good films enjoyable. The plot, such as it is, tells of Marina (Olga Kurylenko), a single mother, who falls in love with Neil (Ben Affleck), an American. They meet in France, then return to America. Neil reconnects with an old flame (Rachel McAdams), and the almost perfect love he experienced with Marina begins to slip away. In the town where they live, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), a priest from Europe, agonizes over his relationship with Christ. Nothing is made particularly clear, and the audience is often left to work things out with only minimal help from the director.