What made a film become a significant personal experience to one? What made you emotionally attached to one?
An american man, Neil (Ben Affleck) found love when he was travelling in Europe with a beautiful single mother Marina (Olga Kurylenko). The two wanders around, basking in the joy of new found love. Neil invites Marina and her daughter Tatiana to his town in Oklahoma, giving them his promise and yet not giving them enough commitment for a new life as a family. As the sparks of romance dimmed and the excitement wear off, their relationship grew cold and strained. Marina found refuge in a Catholic priest, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), the man that aide to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, who’s having his own journey to find reaffirm his faith. Tatiana wanted to go back to her old life in Paris. As Marina and Tatiana’s visas expired and they both return to Paris, Neil found a spark in his old flame, Jane (Rachel McAdams). Until Marina returns to his life once more…
Life’s a dream. In dream you can’t make mistakes. In dream you can be whatever you want.
― Anna, To The Wonder (2012)
Terence Malick latest film To The Wonder, is still in the vein of experimental art film like The Tree of Life. It is delivered in similar directorial style, using artistic imagery with a fragmented narrative, as well as the third collaboration with five time Academy Awards nominee Emmanuel Lubezki as the cinematographer for this film. Despite of that, To The Wonder delivers a story about love and the different form of it. The film feels like a very intimate voyeuristic experience, allowing viewers an inside look within each characters as they went through their emotional struggle and conflicts. Each of their experience were magnified by the use of images of their gestures and body language. Without so much exchanges of dialogues between the character, we gather out information from their innermost monologues, and seeing the experience through their eyes. We were given 2 lead character and 2 supporting ones, and we are privy to their innermost thoughts told in their mother tongues: French, Spanish, and English, which made the monologue feels more private and personal. The beautiful musical score by HananTownshend added the element of tranquility that echoes the visual imagery of the film itself.
I thought I knew you. Now I don’t think you ever were. What we had was nothing. You made it into nothing. Pleasure. Lust.
― Jane, To The Wonder (2012)
I can’t help but to think of the works of Benjamin Alire Sáenz novels. Both weave beautiful poetry that evokes emotion. Its visual possess an ethereal quality when it described tender moments and delivered in murky images to simulate the darker mood. One thing that i can not comprehend is the portrayal of Neil’s job as some kind of an environmental analyst. Was it to shown the dying environment to represent the direness of a love lost?
There is love that is like a stream that can go dry when rain no longer feeds it. But there is a love that is like a spring coming up from the earth. The first is human love, the second is divine love and has its source above.
― Father Quintana, To The Wonder (2012)
To The Wonder was the last film the late Roger Ebert reviewed on his site. Here’s a quote that i find so inspiring from his review of the film
“Well,” I asked myself, “why not?” Why must a film explain everything? Why must every motivation be spelled out? Aren’t many films fundamentally the same film, with only the specifics changed? Aren’t many of them telling the same story? Seeking perfection, we see what our dreams and hopes might look like. We realize they come as a gift through no power of our own, and if we lose them, isn’t that almost worse than never having had them in the first place?”
So, To The Wonder might not a film for everyone, but it may delivered resonant story to some more intimately than to others. This is not a film about a love story, its a story about love. And i fall in love with it. To The Wonder was an intimately emotional movie experience for me, how about you?
TO THE WONDER (2012)
GENRE Romantic, Drama
DIRECTOR Terrence Malick | PRODUCER Nicholas Gonda, Sarah Green | WRITER Terrence Malick | MUSIC Hanan Townshend | CINEMATOGRAPHER Emmanuel Lubezki | EDITOR A.J. Edwards, Shane Hazen, Christopher Roldan, Mark Yoshikawa | STUDIO FilmNation Entertainment, Redbud Pictures | DISTRIBUTOR Magnolia Pictures (US), StudioCanal (UK) | COUNTRY United States | RUNNING TIME 113 minutes | RELEASE April 12, 2013 (US)
STARRING Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams