To the Wonder Terrence Malick's To the Wonder is the work of a director who now views himself as a holy poet of cinema. The film's style is… To the Wonder Terrence Malick's To the Wonder is the work of a director who now views himself as a holy poet of cinema. The film's style is… 2013-04-12 R PT113M Drama Ben Affleck Javier Bardem Olga Kurylenko Rachel McAdams Magnolia Pictures
Movie Review

To The Wonder (2013)

MPAA Rating: R
'WONDER'FUL TONIGHT Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko feature in To the Wonder
Image credit: Mary Cybulski
'WONDER'FUL TONIGHT Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko feature in To the Wonder
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Limited Release: Apr 12, 2013; Rated: R; Length: 113 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams; Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Terrence Malick's To the Wonder is the work of a director who now views himself as a holy poet of cinema. The film's style is ethereal and incantatory, with a soundtrack woven out of whispers and classical music; if anything, it makes Malick's The Tree of Life look like a Noël Coward play. Ben Affleck, with barely a line to speak (he's used for his chiseled masculine presence), plays a man overseeing the construction of a Southwestern suburb as remote as a moon colony. He's fallen for a single mother from Paris (Olga Kurylenko), and Malick features the two of them in a dartingly inquisitive handheld-camera pas de deux. On holiday, they travel and wander and caress and love. The first part of the film is like a moody existential Hallmark card.

Then Affleck brings Kurylenko, along with her tween daughter, back to the States, where we behold an unfolding psychodrama: closeness followed by spasms of anger, then a reconciliation, then a separation (spurred by Kurylenko's visa expiring). All of this is the stuff of drama, but Malick stages it as a series of fragmented, mostly nonverbal moments. ''How had hate come to take the place of love?'' asks Kurylenko in voice-over, and you'd think that would be an important question, but the movie never answers it.

Through the character of a saddened priest (Javier Bardem), Malick seems to be saying that the reason for our breakups, for our fragmented lives and relationships, is that we can no longer see God. If we could, we would be whole again. That may be true, but in To the Wonder, it's Terrence Malick who isn't letting his characters be whole. B-

Originally posted Apr 10, 2013 Published in issue #1255-1256 Apr 19, 2013 Order article reprints
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Weekend of Sep 1 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Walt Disney Pictures
$22.2 5 $280.5 A-
2. $15.7 4 $166.4 C+
3.
If I Stay
Warner Bros.
$11.6 2 $32.2 C-
4. $10.5 3 $59.7 F
5.
As Above, So Below
Universal
$10.3 1 $10.3 C
6.
The November Man
Relativity
$10.2 1 $11.9 C
7. $8.0 2 $18.7 NA
8.
The Giver
Weinstein Co.
$6.9 3 $33.1 C-
9.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Walt Disney Pictures
$6.3 4 $41.1 B
10.
The Expendables 3
Lionsgate
$4.5 3 $34.2 B
* in millions